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Full text of "The Princess Royal"

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fi^ 



ffr 



THE ^ NobeL 

Princess 



Royal. 



Katharine Wylde^ 

Atithor of 
^ Mr. Bryanfs Mistake,'''' etc. 




In Three Volumes. 
Vol. I. 



LONDON : 

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, 
PUBLISHERS IN ORDINARY 
TO HER MAJESTY the QUEEN. 
1894. 

(All rights reserved.) 




CONTENTS OF VOL. I. 



c 






>o» 




PART I, 


J Introductory 




^ 


PART II. 


^ The Important 


Party 


I/) 


PART III. 



3 



Remorse .. 



PAGE 

3 



44 



29 



PART IV. 



Deus ex Machina 



C 

5 



241 



VOL. I. 



"Sing of the nature of woman, and then the song 
shall be surely full of varieties, old crochets, and most 
sweet closes ; it shall be humour grave, fantastic, loving, 
melancholy, sprightly, one in all, and all in one." 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



PART I. 

INTRODUCTORY. 

CHAPTER I. 



HEN Catharine Palmer first met 
Stephen Turold, she thought him 
an angel. He was a boy In looks ; a fair, 
graceful creature, with Grecian features and 
a tenor voice, who played most delicately on 
the violin, and was by birth and education 
a gentleman. Later she found him a very 
fallen angel indeed, and suffered many things 
at his hands. However, she had loved him, 
had made herself his slave, finally had 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



married him ; and, indeed, as his wife, she 
kept him tolerably straight by sheer force of 
character and power of affection — the latter 
only very Indifferently returned. A hard, 
anxious life she had with this man, crippled 
by constant poverty ; for Stephen, ejected 
from his own class, had no talent for making 
a living in a lower one. Catharine worked 
for both, unknown to her husband's family 
and with but little assistance from her 
brother, who neither understood nor ap- 
proved her way of life and choice of a 
husband. 

Then, a few years later, came a great mis- 
fortune : Catharine fell ill, and, after linger- 
ing for several months, a time of great 
misery to herself and to her helpless husband, 
she died ; rather suddenly In the end. The 
man, half-starved, exasperated, and reckless, 
was away at some wild orgy, and the shock 
of finding his wife dead on his return seemed 
to unhinge his brain. At Catharine's funeral 
every one remarked upon the widow^er's 



INTRODUCTORY. 



Strange hilarity as he stepped lightly behind 
the coffin, carrying his little son, whose rosy 
cheek formed a striking contrast to his own 
haggard ghastliness. 

In the evening, Stephen Turold, still with 
the baby in his arms, came to visit his 
brother-in-law, who lived in a model lodging- 
house near Smithfield. Jack Palmer was 
foreman in an oil-shop, and had been married 
for fifteen years to the daughter of a village 
schoolmaster. The pair were simple, 
countrified people still, though John had 
educated himself a good bit in a quiet way, 
and had a taste for science, and a thoughtful, 
inventive mind under a dull exterior. When 
Stephen came in, he was received with the 
utmost gentleness. Polly put down her 
sewing, and Jack took a holiday from his 
chemicals ; for he was experimenting on the 
mineral oils which he daily handled and sold 
in his master's shop. He took Stephen's 
baby on his knee, dandled and danced him, 
poked his fat cheeks, and felt his firm limbs 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



with an air of admiration, suggesting a 
large bump of phlloprogenltlveness ; and 
Stephen watched him with hungry eyes, 
making Httle reply to Mary's well-meant 
observations of condolence and sympathy. 

" You have a deal left you to live for, Mr. 
Turold,'' said good Mrs. Palmer. '' There's 
a many would give up most all they pos- 
sessed to have a little lad of their own like 
that." 

''Would yoitV asked Stephen, quickly. 
John's hand was arrested on the child's 
golden hair, and he glanced furtively at his 
brother-in-law. " I have brought the imp 
to you," continued the father, leaning his 
chin on his hand and speaking quickly and 
unsteadily ; '' I'll make you a present of him, 
if you like." 

There was a silence, only broken by the 
child's Innocent breathing. Mary looked at 
her husband; but beseemed lost in thought, 
his finger, stained black with his chemicals, 
still absently twisting the flaxen curls. 



INTRODUCTORY. 



" Let me tell you how it is." resumed 
Stephen, with tremulous eagerness; ''I'm 
fond of the little chap, and so was Kate. 
He's healthy enough, and looks as if he 
might turn up trumps — doesn't he ? — if he 
got fair play in the game. But what can / 
do for him '^ I don't see my way to feeding 
him, let alone to making him a gentleman. 
It wouldn't be much advantage to him to 
turn out my style of gentleman. Give me 
some of that whisky you've got there, Jack ; 
talking is dry work." 

" It's spirits of wine," said John, grimly, 
removing the black bottle. " Go on with 
what you are saying." 

'' I'm saying I can teach the boy to drink, 
and that's about all," said Stephen, in the 
same agitated tones. " I don't care to drop 
him into the workhouse. Kate didn't de- 
serve that treatment for her son. God 
knows she didn't get much good by her 
marriage ; but she has brought a fine child 
into the world, and if he turns out well, 



8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

perhaps, after all, she'll feel she was paid 
her wao^es." 

" If," began Mary, *.' she could see 
you " 

" I'm not under discussion, thank you ; 
though I've my own idea about myself. 
I'm going away from here, Jack, and it's not 
—at present — my intention to take the brat 
with me." 

'' Where are you going ? " 

*' No matter. Where's the child going .^ 
That's what I ask you. Come, Polly — 
Jack — if you don't want him, say so, and I'll 
wring his neck and have done with it." 

"Oh, John, let us have him !" cried Mrs. 
Palmer. 

John held up his hand delayingly. 

'' We can't make a gentleman of him, 
Stephen." 

*' No ; who wants it .^ My people don't. 
You think my people ought to do something 
for him ? Well, they won't ; that's flat. 
Kate had the notion herself; would go 



INTRODUCTORY. 9 

down herself, poor fool, to see my father. 
Shall I tell you the result ? He frightened 
her into denying, the brat's very existence, 
and her own almost, lest the governor 
should take him to make a o:entleman of 
My father has treated me like a dog — a 
cursed and kicked-out dog ; why should I 
give him the one thing I've got of any 
value ? Do you think he'd be kind to the 
child ? Not he. He'd call it a beo^orar for 
Kate's sake, and a thief for mine. I know 
my father, I tell you, and all my brothers, 
and the whole damned lot of 'em. No, no ; 
wring the child's neck, if you choose, but 
don't you put him in the way of any one 
named Turold. Let him earn his bread. 
If he goes to the dogs like his father — it's 
most likely in his blood — let him do it 
obscurely among low-class people, who make 
no splash when they go under." 

" I'd bring him up a pledge chap," said 
John, thoughtfully ; and Stephen Turold 
laughed loud and long. 



lO THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Remember, Jack, there's not a penny to 
come to him, nor prospect of any, confound 
it. I'm too low down in the family for 
rights, and too offensive for favours ; so 
don't you go bothering the governor for 
either. It's charity, of course ; but you two, 
you could have afforded a child, you know, 
if you had chosen. Kate and I couldn't, 
but we got him ; and that's how the world 
wags. Rectify the ways of Providence, 
Jack. He's not a bad-looking little chap. 
You'd never have made a child like that, 
you two. Couldn't you feel grateful to us 
for doing the job so successfully for you ? 
Call him your own son, and swallow the 
admiration you'll get for him. Upon my life, 
it's a handsome present I'm making you ! 
Still, here are papers to prove he has a right 
to my name, if he ever should want it. They 
might come in handy some day, who knows ? 
And just see that he learns to spell his name 
right. Jack. Yoit never take the trouble 
to write it twice alike." 



IXTRODUCTOR Y. 1 1 



*' If he's to be our boy," said John, 
thoughtfully, " he had best take our name, 
for qrood and alL It's an honester one than 
yours, Stephen." 

" And better suited to a butcher or a ra^^- 
man," said Stephen Turold, laughing. And 
he got up hastily and went out, with an 
unsteady step as if he had been drinking. 

John, still holding the child, contemplated 
the little sleeping face, and Poll}- put her 
right hand on her husband's, and with her 
left raised the baby's finger to her lips. 

" Poor little deserted one ! " she murmured 
pityingly. 

After a minute Stephen returned. 

'' You'll do it, Jack ? Eh, what do you 
say ? " 

" We've been wanting a child this many a 
year," said the man, simply ; '' maybe he'll 
bring a blessing with him." 

" He'll have a debt to pay you some day," 
said Stephen, huskily, and squeezed his 
brother-in-law's fineers. Then he stumbled 



12 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

out again, singing a music-hall ditty on the 
folly of matrimony. 

That night Stephen Turold cut his 
throat in the bare room where his wife 
had died. His corpse was found in the 
morning, a look of wild horror on its 
discoloured face, and one hand reaching out 
vainly towards a white woolly lamb which 
Catharine had bought for the child the 
last time she had been out. Probably he 
had had some distorted affection for the 
dead woman and her baby, and, like many 
another, was less heartless than he seemed. 
But there was an end of him ; and his father, 
Charles Turold, of Turold Royal, was at the 
inquest ; and when the usual charitable 
verdict had been given, he took the poor 
corpse hom*e and had it pompously buried 
with his ancestors in the family vaults. And 
Stephen, whose career had been concealed 
as much as possible, was quickly forgotten 
in the respectability of dull cold marble. 
The world never knew of the dead man's 



INTRODUCTORY. 



13 



wife, and the existence of the blue-eyed 
baby remained unsuspected. 

And this was the fashion by which honest 
John Palmer acquired his handsome, fair- 
haired son, who grew up the very apple of 
his eye and the unspeakable delight of all 
his days. 




CHAPTER II. 



LATER. 



HAT people remarked in the men of 
the Turold family was that they were 
all very much alike. There was a certain 
family ideal upon which they formed them- 
selves, and it made no difference to any one 
if the man reigning were a Reginald or a 
Richard, a Stephen or a Charles. At the 
present moment it was Gilbert. He was 
very much in evidence at county boards and 
on local committees, in the hunting-field, at 
public balls and magistrates' dinners ; the 
tenants liked him and called him a real 
gendeman, but he was too poor to be the 
ideal landlord of these progressive days, 



IN TROD UCTOR V. 1 5 



and the Molesworthy Radical newspaper 
denounced him as a tyrant and a land- 



crrabber. 



The thing, however, which very few 
practically remembered was that Gilbert, 
though regnant, was as yet merely the heir. 
His father still lived — a lonely, gout-stricken 
old gentleman, who had made his bow to 
society and seldom moved out of his own 
apartments. Nevertheless, that old gentle- 
man was really the family despot and 
governed in rightdown earnest, though he 
had stepped from his throne and had lifted 
his kingly crown on to the brow of his son. 
Gilbert was a good deal afraid of his father, 
and, you may be quite sure, so was Lilith. 

Lilith was Gilbert's daughter and only 
child, consequently the heiress presumptive; 
for it was accurately arranged in the entail 
that upon failure of male heirs (and Gilbert 
was at the present moment the last of these) 
the inheritance was to pass to the nearest 
female, who was to retain her name and to 



l6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Start the family afresh. Lllith had taken 
advantage of her unusual position as female 
heir to vary the type a little. Possibly she 
had the family intolerance of interference, 
and their settled conviction that the Turolds 
were now and always had been the first 
family in England. She had too the family 
blue eyes ; but her hair w^as black and curly 
and not too abundant, as unlike the smooth, 
golden braids of her cousin Lady Caroline 
Vane (a typical Turold) as her slender 
willowy frame was inferior to that lady's 
Juno-like and somewhat formidable propor- 
tions. Lady Caroline and the old grand- 
father too thought Lilith a poor creature, and 
he had been extremely cross with her for her 
sex ; but that was a very long time ago, and 
now he had acquiesced in the inevitable, 
only insisting that he should have a very 
noisy voice In her marriage, and that it should 
take place the moment she was out of the 
schoolroom. 

" Dear papa," said Lilith, *' grandpapa is 



INTROD UCTOR Y. I 7 

SO old, how can he possibly know the sort 
of person I should like to marry ? I should 
so very much rather ji'<9?/ settled it." 

Gilbert Turold smiled and drew her affec- 
tionately towards him. 

*' Try and realize your position, Lilith. 
Noblesse oblige, and Miss Turold must marry 
the man suitable to her, not merely the man 
she likes. You owe a debt to your long line 
of ancestors, my child, and, I hope, to as long 
a line of your descendants." 

Sixteen-year-old Lilith pouted. 

" It would be pleasanter to like him 
though, papa." 

'' To be sure, to be sure. Only you 
mustn't begin with the liking, as the daughter 
of a country clergyman might be allowed 
to do." 

" Papa," said Lilith, " didn't you begin 
with liking ? " 

He smiled, pushing the curls off her 
forehead and kissing it. 

" That was a little different, my love. 

VOL, I. 2 

5^ 



1 8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

I was not the heir when I married. Your 
uncles were alive. A little more heroism 
is demanded of you, Lilith. We must choose 
for you, my dear ; and, remember, it is only 
a very ill-regulated mind, impossible in a 
member of our family, which requires to 
have duty safeguarded by vulgar passion." 

'' Oh dear me ! " cried Lilith, blushing 
scarlet, '' I should certainly never have a 
passion for anybody ! All I mean is that 
grandpapa is too old to know in the least 
the kind of person who would be suitable. 
He does not dislike that horrid man with 
the squint and the stammer who dined 
here on Tuesday. He did not seem sur- 
prised that such a man had been able to 
get a wife. I don't think it has occurred 
to grandpapa that a person with a stammer, 
or a cork leg, or a crooked nose, or any- 
thing of that sort, could never be a suit- 
able hus I mean that I, Lilith Turold, 

could never bear to live in the house or to 
sit at table every day with a creature like 



INTRODUCTORY. 1 9 

that. Don't yoic see, papa ? Do please 
explain to grandpapa. I assure you I care 
very much indeed what people look like, and 
I don't know what would become of me if 
grandpapa tried to make me marry that kind 
of man ! " 

Lilith spoke with great earnestness. For 
only that morning she had overheard a 
conversation about a certain Lord Beacon, 
who had presumably been expressing ad- 
miration for the Princess Royal. 

'* My heiress cannot marry a peer," she 
had heard her grandfather say ; '' her long 
line must not be obliterated by union with 
a so-called noble one. It is needless, 
Gilbert, to discuss this young man's pre- 
tensions further."' 

But no one had appeared to dislike Lord 
Beacon for his white eyelashes and his shuf- 
flino- orait. The damsel therefore felt that her 
first suitor had been dismissed on the wrone 
grounds ; and she discerned a divergence of 
opinion between herself and her elders, 



20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



which might some day assume gigantic 
dimensions. Whether or not It occurs to 
any young woman of sixteen, pretty or plain, 
rich or poor, that she may end by never 
marrying anybody, I cannot say. Most 
certainly no such dismal foreboding crossed 
the mind of Miss Turold, of Turold Royal, 
for a single instant. Yet she trembled and 
half wished herself a little maid of fourteen 
again, too young to be thinking of marriage 
at all ; and this feeling remained even after 
her fears about cork les^s and stammers had 
calmed down a little. For by this time she 
had seen her cousin Edward Vane, and it 
would have needed eyes much duller than 
Lilith's pretty blue ones not to perceive that 
this young gentleman would be highly suit- 
able for the vacant situation, if he had a 
mind to apply for It. Edward had his full 
complement of limbs and was In every way 
pleasanter to look upon than Lord Beacon. 
No doubt Gilbert Turold felt, In presenting 
this young man as a possible candidate, that 



INTRODUCTORY. 2 1 



he had found some one acceptable no less to 
pretty Miss Lihth than to the autocrat 
grandfather. The girl recognized her father's 
ingenuity ; and suddenly, trembling a little, 
she felt herself much older and a bit of a 
coquette : no longer a child, but a grown 
woman of great importance and an object of 
attention to suitors. 

The point was, however, what did 
Edward Vane think of Lilith ? And who 
was he .^ 

Well, he was an important personage too. 
His father, son of old Charles Turold's 
sister Maria, though he had grown up under 
the care of a step-mother almost unknown 
to the Turolds, was, nevertheless, their 
nearest relation. And he had married his 
cousin Lady Caroline Erpingham — the large 
lady of the golden hair above alluded to — 
who, like all the Erpinghams, kept up a 
close connection with her relatives at Turold 
Royal, and was in all respects herself a 
typical Turold in appearance and habit of 



2 2 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

mind. She had a large progeny, male and 
female; and all her children, except Edward, 
were very like herself, and not particularly 
interesting. Edward was different : a quiet, 
clever boy, curiously reticent of himself and 
his interests ; who asserted that he had no 
tastes and no occupations, worked at his 
mathematics in secret, and put himself to 
great inconvenience, locking up his books 
and scientific instruments and bolting his 
doors lest he might be surprised at his 
favourite employments. After taking high 
university honours, he amazed his family by 
settling down at Cambridge as a Fellow, 
living in very luxurious college rooms, and 
devoting himself ostensibly to the collecting 
of china. Occasionally he lectured or ex- 
amined a little to justify his presence at the 
university, yet, on the whole, he seemed as 
much a fish out of water there as amone 
his bustling brothers and sisters at home. 
Very few people knew that he was in reality 
a laborious student and an enthusiast in 



INTRODUCTORY. 



certain narrow and rather unpractical branches 
of scientific experiment. 

Before long, however, his father died ; 
and after this Edward lived less In college, 
was oftener seen in his house at Moles- 
worthy, and more frequently met in society. 
In person this young man was handsome, 
but of no great size. His manners were 
irreproachable. He talked well, and a 

little cynically ; and you had to know him 
very intimately before you discovered that 
on any subject he might have said more 
than ever he did say, and perhaps some- 
thing a little different. He had several 
literary accomplishments ; he danced well, 
and could make himself very agreeable to 
women, while speaking of them slightingly 
and exhibiting no tendency whatever to 
flirtation. Altogether he was an enigma to 
his brethren, and rather an annoyance 
to Lady Caroline ; but, one and all, they 
were afraid of him, and, in a quiet way, he 
ruled them with a rod of iron. 



24 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Edward was twenty-seven when he first 
saw LiHth Turold. Of course the family 
glory had been dihgently dinned into his 
ears by his mother, but she had never 
succeeded in eHciting from him one apparent 
spark of interest in the subject. 

'' I was not born hicky," said Edward, 
yawning ; '' though I am the next heir, 
you'll find Turold Royal won't come to me 
as a heritao^e." 

Lady Caroline suggested that he might 
marry the heiress, and Edward shrugged his 
shoulders and said he knezu better. Never- 
theless he had his own sentiments, and when 
Gilbert sent him an invitation to the Court, 
he accepted it. 

No doubt it was the place he fell in love 
with first. If he did not find the opulence 
which Lady Caroline's exaggerations had led 
him to expect, he discovered poetry and 
romance which had eluded her prosaic mind. 
The beauty of the situation excited him ; 
the green slopes and shadowed glades sur- 



ISTRODUCTORY. 25 

rounding the low red house, part of which 
dated from the twelfth centun*. Enchant- 
ment wrapped him round as soon as he 
had crossed the threshold, had seen the 
mouldy tapestries, the armour which had 
fought at Jerusalem or Agincourt, the por- 
traits of the men whose blood flowed in 
his veins. He also was a Turold of the 
Turolds, and from this moment he was 
greedy of the inheritance. 

And now enter to him Lilith, the slip of 
a girl who stood between it and him. Lilith 
was sixteen, tall and lank, as became her 
years ; dressed still in a shortish frock, with 
her hair looped low on her neck in a school- 
girl knot Yet the frock, donned for the 
occasion, was a pretty and a stately one. 
made out of her mothers wedding dress, 
quite plain, but a little low at the neck, 
showing the spring of a throat already 
beautiful and suiting the creamy bloom of 
a delicate cheek. To Edward, used to his 
high-coloured and brawny young sisters. 



26 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

this girl seemed all daintiness and grace, 
exquisite in her freshness, her pretty pride 
in her position, her joyous appreciation of 
her opening life and the attention she was 
to meet with from the world. At once 
gracefully shy and delicately daring in her 
manner to himself, Lilith irresistibly attracted 
her cousin's eyes and fixed his interest. He 
had been but a few moments in her presence 
when it struck him, agitatingly, why her 
parents had sent for him to Turold Royal. 
He paused in the middle of a sentence, his 
face suddenly paling, which was his manner 
of showing emotion, and his quick mind 
remembering many things in a lightning 
flash. These pleasant people, father and 
mother, who were watching with the greatest 
interest the progress of their experiment, 
were offering him, actually offering him this 
romantic place, this delicate damsel, both of 
which he already coveted. And, half-stunned 
by the novelty of the question, Edward 
heard his own heart asking him persistently, 



INTRODUCTORY. 



''Why not? In a little while, why not i^ " 
Yet he did not at once come forward as 
a suitor, perhaps because Lilith was only 
sixteen. At least, he gave his impatient 
mother no other reason for delay ; and he 
kept up a close intimacy with the girl and 
her parents. 




m\^[W[mr^[mmmmmm[^m\m\mr^r^[^r^^r^^r^'mmm 




CHAPTER III. 



T Is explained that Turold was a very, 
very old name. There it is on the 
Bayeux tapestry ; and William the Con- 
queror had a preceptor of the name, who 
was afterwards a Grand Constable, and sent 
on an embassy to Guy of Ponthieu. Two 
of the Constables sons came to England 
and are mentioned In the Domesday Book ; 
and of one of these Gilbert Turold was 
now the last male heir in a direct and un- 
broken descent. 

Turold Royal came Into the possession of 
the family by gift of King Stephen. The 
house, of which the ancient form was still 
to be traced at the core of the present 
Tudor building, stood on a gentle hill, sur- 



INTRODUCTORY. 29 

rounded by terraced gardens, which sloped 
away to parks and woods. All the furniture 
was old, and from one end to the other the 
old house was chockful of relics. There 
were two royal beds and half a hundred 
locks of hair. There were autographs, 
rapiers, shields, shoes, fans, posy rings, 
innumerable ; and at least three ghosts 
dating from three different centuries. There 
were a few good portraits and a great many 
bad ones. There was the christening robe 
of Henry VII., the warming-pan of the 
Count of Edessa, Queen Eleanor's stoneware 
jug, and three letters from Katharine of 
Arragon. The andirons in the hall bore 
Henry VIII.'s initials, and a drawing-room 
chair was of yellow silk, flowered in silver 
by a lady of Charles II. Perkin Warbeck's 
head sat under a glass case ; and beside it 
were three notable cauls, Michael Scott's 
showstone, a divining rod, and two of the 
fingers of Christopher Marlowe. But of one 
thing there was ever but scanty store at 



30 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Turold Royal — a thing spoken of there as a 
vulgar triviality, which is yet generally a 
useful article enough — mo7iey. 

Alas, and alas ! the want of money is the 
root of all evil ; and under Gilbert's rdgime 
even the Turolds of Turold Royal were 
beginning to be dimly aware of the fact. 
Expenses had a tiresome habit of increasing. 
For example, the stables tumbled down, and 
the church, which was a prized family re- 
sponsibility, had its steeple struck by light- 
ning. There was a murrain among the 
deer ; and a catastrophe, which entailed 
extensive doctoring fees, among the farm 
servants. Finally, the very extravagant 
Local Board undertook the repair of a road 
skirting the park, and sent in a monstrous bill. 
Mr. Turold felt that the very last straw had 
now been l^id on the camels back, and 
he summoned the family lawyer for advice 
on the financial position. Mr. Wilkinson 
scratched his head thoughtfully. 

*' Follow, sir, the Duke of Hampstead's 



INTRODUCTORY. 



example — sell your Velasquez, or the two 
Vandycks, and Peg Woffington's powder- 
pot." 

''We will not," said IMr. Turold. (That, 
of course, means Gilbert. The old gentle- 
man will never appear in these pages without 
a flourish of trumpets before his entrance.) 
*' We will not," repeated Gilbert Turold to 
several further suggestions, some of which 
seemed sacrilegious to the embarrassed 
gentleman, some merely insufficient. At 
last he decided to sell a parcel of land ad- 
joining the estate, which had recently fallen 
in from a great aunt, and which, not being 
included in the original property, was insig- 
nificant in the family eyes. It consisted of 
about fifty acres, chiefly woodland, opposite 
to the drawing-room windows of Turold 
Royal ; and far away, concealed among the 
trees, was the pretty cottage where the 
deceased lady had lived with her parrots 
and her pugs. 

Mr. Turold imag-ined that "To be Sold" 



32 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



having been stuck upon a board beside this 
Httle house, purchasers would immediately 
fieht for It. He was in error. Weeks 
passed before any notice was taken ; then 
one or two persons Inspected, inquired, 
shied at the price, made offers and were 
refused. 

" If, sir," suggested the land-agent, '' I 
might put it up in lots for villas " 

''Villas?'' said Mr. Turold, incensed. 
*' Certainly not. Villas mean tradespeople, 
and we owe a duty to county society. The 
only person I can import into the neighbour- 
hood is a gentleman, say a retired Indian 
General of good descent, or the son of a 
respectable peer." 

"Sir," said Mr. Letterby, meekly, "you 
must, I fear, lower your price." 

" If my purchaser is a gentleman," said 
Mr. Turold, " he will not be on the look-out 
for a bargain." 

Mr. Letterby consequently expected that 
Sllcote Dene — so the little estate was called — 



INTRODUCTORY. 33 



would remain in the market. He also was 
proved to be mistaken. 

For one da}*, ]\Iiss Kidson, daughter of 
the chairman of the Molesworthy Local 
Board and editor of the Radical paper, was 
riding with her friend Tom Palmer. ]\Iiss 
Kidson had scant consciousness of her 
own very remarkable personal beauty, but 
she knew quite well she was clever. She 
had just come home from Newnham College, 
liaving taken honours in Science and Moral 
Philosophy. She was an advanced young 
lady ; philanthropic of course, and with a 
passion for reforming the world. At the 
present moment she was unmercifully boring 
Tom Palmer with her hobbies ; and he was 
thinkinor more of the fresh o^reen leaves and 
the spring sunshine than of her criticisms 
and queries, and of his own very perfunctory- 
replies when she appeared to him to be 
expecting an answer. 

*' The difference between men and women," 
said Grace Kidson, *' is that women are more 

VOL. I. ^ 



34 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

m earliest. I mQ^n awa/ce7ied -womQn. Don't 
you think so, Tom ? Otherwise, with your 
grand talents and your superb strength, you 
would accomplish ten thousand times more. 
Earnestness is 07ir gift. You yourself, Tom, 
— your music now — you don't labour at it. 
If / had your ear, your voice, your fingers, 
you careless boy, do you know what I 
would do ? " 

*'Yes, Gracie, I know," said Tom; ''you 
would bore the old folk." 

" Oh, Tom, you are so wrong ! You might 
be educating their taste. But if I were you, 
rd go to Germany and study. You might 
be a Wagner, Tom, or at any rate a Brahms. 
Oh, if I had but half your talent! Tom, 
you vegetate. You are a drone — a mere 
drone. It is too bad of you." 

** Hallo!" interrupted Tom, "look at this 
pretty ivy-covered cottage to be sold ! " 

Grace stopped her horse, wheeled round, 
and was off on another subject. 

*'Oh yes! I w^as near forgetting. I 



INTRODUCTORY. 



brought you this way on purpose to show 
it to you. I want you to inspect it, Tom, 
and see if it won't do exactly for my Conva- 
lescent Home. I am determined to enlarge 
the Home this year, and to move it to a 
brighter situation. And indeed, Tom, your 
subscription is overdue, and Mr. Palmer's. 
Please don't forget to remind him." 

*' There are fifty acres to be sold with this 
house," said Tom ; *' it won't suit you, 
Gracie." 

*' Fifty acres ! Oh, why didn't I notice 
that before ! " cried Grace, in dismay. *' I 
have mentally had my patients living in this 
house for a fortnight. Such a dear, con- 
sumptive woman I have now, Tom, deserted 
by her husband. Do let me tell you about 
her. She is dying, poor thing. I never 
had such a responsive, grateful, interesting 
creature before. But fifty acres ! No, it 
won't do. Come away." 

*' Let's get down and look at it, though," 
said Tom ; "it takes my fancy." 



36 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



They dismounted, giving their horses to 
the caretaker to hold while they went in. 
The cottage drawing-room opened by French 
windows on to a weed-grown garden, where 
white convolvulus strangled the syringa 
bushes, and tall grass quivered golden before 
the sombre evergreens. Tom stepped out, 
Grace followinor him. It was evening-, and 
the thrushes sang their loudest on the tops 
of the poplar trees ; now and then a few 
nightingale notes bubbled forth from the 
lower shrubs. The ground below the garden 
fell rapidly to the valley, where a tiny river 
shone like a golden thread. Beyond, rose 
the sloping emerald park-lands of Turold 
Royal, with herds of deer reposing under 
beech and ash ; on the crest of the hill were 
the low red walls and the turreted battle- 
ments of the old house, h. figure in white 
was just visible; standing on the terrace, 
and perhaps watching the gambols of the 
great dog whose bark boomed faintly across 
the valley to the distant cottage. 



INTRODUCTORY. 



" That's the prettiest thing I ever saw in 
my life ! " cried Tom Palmer. "I'd like to 
live in this cottac^e." And he added im- 
pulslvely, — his nostrils tickled by the scent of 
the syrlnga, the bubbling bird-notes sending 
a shudder of delight down nerves which 
vibrated to every voice of music, while the 
sunset sky, the dark house, and the white 
figure were painted on his eyes like a vision 
In a pleasant dream, — '' Fifty acres is exactly 
the size father is looking for ! " 

It was consequent on Tom's ride with 
Grace Kidson that a purchaser appeared 
for Silcote Dene, who made no demur about 
the price, nor difficulties of any sort. But 
he wasn't the son of a lord nor even a 
retired Indian General. The matter was 
concluded before Gilbert Turold could look 
round, or fully realize what it was that he 
had done. When he did realize It, he felt 
thoroughly vexed, if not a little ashamed of 
himself. 

" But who Is it, papa," asked Lilith, see- 



38 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

ing him disturbed ; " who has bought the 
Dene ? " 

" Poverty leads one into strange tempta- 
tions," moralized Mr. Turold. '* Lilith, when 
you marry, you must marry a wealthy man, 
my dear child ! " 

" What have you done, Gilbert ? " asked 
his wife. 

" I have committed a social error, Evelyn. 
I have, I am sorry to say, introduced into 
our neighbourhood a member of the very 
class which I least wish to see in society — 
the class whose only title to consideration 
is money." 

''But who, papa ? — who ? " 

" A tradesman who advertises in every 
penny paper." 

'' My dearest Gilbert ! Not the Moles- 
worthy butcher ? " 

" Nothing so respectable, Evelyn. This 
man is a noisy, speculating humbug. Bah ! 
you know his name well enough." 

" Surr's Soap, papa ? " 



INTRODUCTORY. 39 

''No; Palmers Prepared Paraffin, Lilith." 

" My dear Gilbert ! " exclaimed Mrs. 
Turold, and thought she detected a frown 
on the stern countenance of the Reginald 
who had fought for the king at Naseby, and 
was now in a picture-frame over the door. 

Lilith laughed. 

" Look here, papa ! All over the back 
of the Guardian, ' Buy Palmer's Paraffin ! ' 
And near Oxford the other day I saw a 
great board in a field, ' Burn Palmer's 
Prepared Paraffin ; ' and two ladies in our 
railway carriage turned to each other and 
said, both at once, * Do yoic burn Palmer's 
Paraffin ? It's the best ! ' Don't you think 
they were paid to do it, papa ? " 

At this moment old Mr. Turold, who had 
graciously joined the family circle, bumped 
his hand-gong noisily ; and when his valet 
came, got himself and his wheeled chair 
conveyed out of the room. 

'' Why, grandpapa, how early you are 
running away ! " said Lilith. 



40^ THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



"Your lamps smell to-night, my dear," 
said he. 

She clapped her hands. 

''Impossible, grandpapa! It's Palmer's 
Prepared Paraffin ! " 

'' Exactly ; the whole room reeks of it. 
Good night, Gilbert. Allow me to say you 
have mismanaged this affair from beginning 
to end." 

And every one felt sorry for the Prince- 
regent thus publicly rebuked by the abdi- 
cated monarch, and Lilith kissed the top 
of her father's head sympathetically. 

One morning, a few weeks later, Mr. 
Turold, looking out of his window and 
frowning because his eye lighted on the 
pleasant woods of Silcote Dene, perceived 
that a clearance had been made, and that 
even at this moment woodmen were enlarg- 
ing the space, already an eyesore. A cold 
shudder ran down the gentleman's back. 
He ordered his horse, and trotted off at 
once to Silcote Dene, a distance of four 



INTROD UCTOR Y. 4 1 

miles by road. The ivy cottage was in- 
habited, but not yet improved. Mr. Turold 
looked with disgust at a gaudy, half-worn 
and ill-fitting carpet in the principal room ; 
and at the wall, still stained by flood from 
frost-burst pipes in the preceding winter. 

''The people must be pigs," he told him- 
self in disgust. " What would poor Aunt 
Deborah say ? " 

Then entered a short, bald personage, 
coatless, and smoking a pipe. " I am Mr. 
Turold," said the gentleman. " The pro- 
prietor," he added rashly, irritated by the 
bald man's stare. 

*' There's some mistake," said the bald 
man. " I'm Salt, the builder, and living in 
these premises to hact for Palmer — for Palmer 
of Palmer's Prepared Paraffin, you know." 

'' I have come to inquire why Mr. Palmer 
is cutting down trees on the hill opposite 
my house." 

Mr. Salt stared again. Still he answered 
mildly — 



42 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

''Jack Palmer's the last man to displease 
any one ; but I ask you, sir, how could 
he build his 'ouse without a bit of a clear 
space ? " 

" Build a house ! You don't mean to 
say he is ^oing to build a house ? What 
can he want with two houses ? " cried 
Gilbert. 

*' You don't call this 'ere an 'ouse, do 
you ? " said Salt, kicking the wall with 
derision. 

'' A house ! God bless me ! " said the 
poor gentleman. '' But I can't possibly 
have it exactly opposite mine ! I shall 
write to your employer myself." 

" As you please, sir," said Salt, meekly. 

The cutting down of the trees suffered 
no check, but Gilbert sent his letter. 
Greatly distressed, good Mr. Palmer got 
Tom to answer it for him — Tom, who 
knew more about gentlemen than he did, 
and who wrote a better hand than his 
father's. Tom, indeed, wrote so distinctly 



INTRODUCTORY. 43 

that Mr. Tiirold at once recognized his 
absolute helplessness, and said no more. 

Down came the trees, and up rose the 
house. No cottage this time. No, a pre- 
tentious, sham antique, tasteless, abominable 
villa, with all the modern improvements, and 
excessively proud of itself; without even 
a creeper on its walls (being new) to veil 
its nakedness. On its right was a great 
stable ; on its left a huge, dome-topped 
glasshouse, suitable for Kew. At the en- 
trance was an immense and fantastic lamp, 
emitting a very brilliant light. 

*' There is only one thing wanting," said 
Princess Lilith. '' Some night we shall 
wake and see it there — a vast oily comet 
flaming across the sky in the form of writing, 
' Behold Palmer's Paraffin ! ' " 

'* I don't think," murmured her father, 
" that my most ingenious enemy could have 
contrived for me a greater annoyance." 



ll„J2 Mi.»Ai.L^Ll^^ !^ ^.LJJL.,'..'.,,. »*■■■, ir^ 




PART II. 

THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 
CHAPTER I. 






T was o-ettlno- near the end of the 



^V.V,l.XXX^ 



season at Luxor. The English 
physician had gone from the hotel and the 
head-waiter; and If you asked for sundry 
delicacies, before abundant, you only got a 
lamentable headshake and the explanation, 
" Limes " (or soap, or whatever It might be) 
''all finished." A scorpion had ijfeen seen 
In the dining-room and a yellow snake in 
the saloon ; no more Cook's tourists were 
expected, and the visitors still in the hotel 
were packing up for their return voyage to 
Cairo. They were few. A French architect, 
measuring the temples for a guide-book ; a 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 45 

German philosopher, writing a treatise on 
the '' Manners and Methods of Cultivation 
of the ancient Egyptians, as compared with 
the Habits of Life and Customs of Ao:ri- 
culture among the To-day-Nile-bordering- 
village-inhabiting-Fellaheen ; " an English 
spinster ; a widow and her eldest son named 
Vane, and with them a young relative still 
in mourning for her mother, Miss Turold 
— Lilith, of course ; there was only one 
Miss Turold. On this 22nd of March, Lady 
Caroline Vane wrote to her cousin Gilbert : 
" It is useless hurrying these matters. It 
will not be arranged just yet, but all is 
admirably en tramr Which, of course, was 
her ladyship's way of confessing that a 
certain match-making manoeuvre of hers had 
failed again. 

While she was writing, the hotel-keeper 
received from Cairo a telegram, which flung 
him into a o^reat fever of agitation — 
" Prepare for an important party." Was 
it the Queen of England who was on her 



46 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

way ? and at this most unlucky moment 
when his wines, his fowls, and indeed his 
servants too were "all finished!" He con- 
sulted Edward Vane ; who smiled sarcasti- 
cally, and repeated the telegram as a jest 
at dinner. The " LP.," as the new-comers 
were nick-named, became famous even 
before their arrival. 

A few days passed, and then one sultry 
afternoon the Amenartas came (for the 
tourist-boats were discontinued) and brought 
the Important Party. It was the hour of 
siesta, but the LP. murdered sleep. For 
an hour there was an incessant trampling 
of many feet, a shouting of many voices, 
a dragging hither and thither of heavy 
boxes. Curiosity constrained Lilith, who 
was only eighteen and a wee bit tired of 
the hotel party. 

*' Edward," she whispered through her 
cousin's door, '' they've come ! I do so want 
to see them. It's early, but come down 
with me now for tea." 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 47 

Lilith had not known Edward for three 
years ; but because she had made his 
acquaintance In her schoolroom days and 
was grown up now, she considered him a 
very old friend indeed, and they were on 
terms of the most comfortable Intimacy. To 
him she still seemed much of a child ; but 
he admired her, and he Intended her for his 
wife. 

"■ My dear Lilith ! " said Edward, re- 
provingly. However, he acceded. 

Afternoon tea at the Luxor Hotel is 
proverbially good. It seemed exhilarating 
to the Important Party, who had just landed 
after four days on the postal steamer. 

" They are very cheerful people," whis- 
pered Lilith, from behind her teapot. 

And Edward replied — 

" They are precisely what I expected.'' 

The LP. consisted of five gentlemen and 
four ladles, a dragoman, three English men- 
servants, and two lady's-maids ; and they 
had a great deal of luggage. One gentle- 



48 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

man was elderly, and royally addressed as 
*' Sir ; " he was bald and stout, had a very 
loud voice, and wore a white alpaca coat, 
in which he still seemed far too hot. The 
elderly lady was obviously his wife. She 
was dressed in ** Jaeger," and also seemed too 
hot. Then there was a very young and 
very showy couple, with a pert and pretty 
sister-in-law ; these were friends of the 
elderly pair, and the owners of the 
enormous travelling trunks. Next came 
three men, all under thirty, all well 
grown, and all dressed alike in sun- 
helmets and other over-tropical garb ; 
lastly, a youngish, rather plain but not 
displeasing lady, the wife of the eldest of 
the three, whom she called Jim. 

" I say, waiter," sang out a member of 
this party, *' send me a boy to fan the flies 
off." 

The person addressed was the landlord, 
who was too much awed by the I. P. to 
object to anything. He called his little son, 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 49 

and the child stationed himself solemnly 
behind the big gentleman, with a fly-whisk, 
which he waved gravely and ineffectually. 
A great laugh arose at the unexpected 
execution of the order. 

" I say, doctor," said Jim, " you're a 
sybarite." 

''Well.^" said the doctor, ''it's like we 
always did in Burmah, don't you know ? " 

And the pert young lady asked who 
'' sybarite " was when he was at home. 

*' Him," replied the doctor, imperturbably, 
pointing with his thumb to a picture on the 
wall, copied from the tomb of Ti at Sakkarah. 
Renewed laughter, the pictures seeming 
irresistibly ludicrous. 

"• There's your portrait. Loo," said Jim, 
pointing one out to his wife. 

" Oh law, Tom ! " said she, leaning across 
to another of the party ; '' isn't that a com- 
pliment Jim's paying me ? " 

'' It's Cleopatra," said the doctor, spell- 
ing out with difficulty some letters placed 

VOL. I. 4 



50 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

one above the other. General laughter 
again. 

'' Tom's in a brown study," said Mrs. Jim, 
pouring fresh tea into his cup. *' Have it 
strong, Tom, do ; it'll wake you up." 

Tom had been silently examining the 
room and its occupants with a calm survey 
from a pair of frank, unabashed, blue eyes, 
which had never quailed before any one. 
He saw windows opening upon a bushy 
garden, across which the sun streamed mer- 
cilessly ; he saw a second long table, with 
a white cloth for dinner ; he saw at the 
end of the table at which he himself sat, a 
ridiculous little Frenchman (Tom was still 
at the stage in which all Frenchmen appear 
ridiculous) ; he saw an Englishman, whose 
good looks gave him the impression that he 
had somewhere and somewhen certainly 
seen him before. And then he saw a young 
English lady. Tom got no further in his 
survey of the room. He remained staring 
at the young lady. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 51 

She was dressed in white — that was the 
whole description he could have given. He 
could not have said for certain that she was 
pretty. His discrimination, his self-pos- 
session, his very consciousness seemed to 
forsake him. As he looked at the young 
lady, he felt his soul, as it were, evaporating, 
being absorbed into hers ; his heart actually 
leaving him to attach itself irrevocably to 
hers. In a word, he there and then fell in 
love. 

" Who ever loved, who loved not at first sight ? " 
We mock at the line now. A litde reflec- 
tion, we begin with ; a little repulsion ; not 
with love. Yet a few simple souls remain 
who don't reflect gloomily or much, and who 
would never overcome an antipathy. They 
survive from some past generation, no doubt, 
but they are capable of one most delightful 
feat — they can fall in love at first sight. 
Tom belonged to them ; and so, oblivious of 
all else, he stared on at the young lady, 
already la maitresse de son ccBur. 

"'"'^'<mY Of u, 



52 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

The odd thing was that she stared back 
at him ; not, by any means, because she had 
fallen in love with him. Certainly not ; but 
from curiosity and a little disdainful admi- 
ration, much as she might have stared at 
a handsome lion in the Zoological Gardens : 
till Edward murmured, " Are you ready, 
Lilith ? If so, let us escape. I really can't 
stand these people longer ! " 

Lilith had looked away from the stranger 
at once ; and she now got up, rather confused 
and rosy. The man called Tom looked 
away also, and still did not know where he 
was, nor what in the world had happened to 
him. And his cheek flushed crimson, and 
then grew pale, and then flushed up again, 
till his cousin Louisa Howe asked him, 
not without apprehension, if he had got a 
sunstroke. 

He had fallen in love; and the young lady 
had certainly looked at him, and knew he 
had fine blue eyes. And she was a princess 
— Miss Turold, of Turold Royal ; and he 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 53 

was just a well-to-do person called Tom, 
travelling with an Important Party, and pre- 
sumably loud and important himself. 

After a few minutes, the young man joined 
his friends outside the hotel-door, where 
were a few cane chairs shaded by tamarisks. 
A tame pelican and a couple of dogs were 
wandering about ; and saddled donkeys 
waited a little further down the path, their 
attendant boys squatting on the ground in 
the sunshine and teaslncr each other. 

" Aren't there some temples or something 
to be seen here ? " said Louisa. 

*' Oh, temples ! " echoed her husband. " I 
don't think much of temples. I'm going on 
the shoot." 

'' I shall have my hair washed," pro- 
nounced the pretty bride to her sister, and 
sent her maid to prepare soda and soap. 

A sweet, amused laugh was heard from 
the staircase window, and Tom felt a de- 
licious stab at his heart, and listened for its 
repetition. 



54 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

The donkey party came out, mounted and 
cantered away — Miss Frost, the spinster, 
with her sketch-book ; Lilith Turold, also 
with a sketch-book; and Edward Vane. 

" Let us make haste ! " cried Lilith 
joyously; '*we shan't visit Karnak much 
oftener ! " 

The young man named Tom stood for 
some minutes like one dazed, then ordered 
for himself a horse. 

'' Horses all finished," said the grinning 
oaf he addressed ; " Mafisch horses. But 
mine one ver good donk; big, for one English 
big gentleman." 

Not since childhood had Tom bestridden 
an ass, and he hesitated. Still the lovely 
lady had gone forth on a donkey ; and she 
had cantered away so swiftly that to catch 
her on foot was hopeless. 

** Do I bring '^ Yes ? " cried the boy, 
capering round the young man. " Him ver 
good ; ver good antique donk. Him call 
Oilskin." 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 55 

Tom mounted Oilskin, a truly stately 
white donkey with a cunning eye, and a 
scarlet saddle, all hump and girthed with 
a loose piece of tape. The ass galloped 
off at racing speed, shaving all corners close, 
and striking terror Into the foot-passengers ; 
heeding somewhat the shouts of his 
attendant owner, but not In the least the 
rein or the kicks of his rider. Tom had 
not gone half a mile before he saw the whit^- 
robed damsel and her companions before him 
in single file on the narrow causeway ; and 
he tried to pull up. The rein broke at once, 
and the donkey-boy's one idea was to 
demonstrate the speed of his Oilskin to the 
party in front. " Stop ! stop, I say ! " cried 
Tom, much vexed ; but the boy replied, 
*' Me no speak Inglees," and flogged the 
donkey and shouted, '' Houp ! Houp !" with 
the whole strenorth of his luno^s so that the 
pace quickened immoderately. Tom all but 
bumped against Miss Frost and heard her 
say " very rude," to herself. A violent kick 



56 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

he gave his steed on the off side sent him 
tottering half way down the bank and got 
him past Edward Vane and Lilith in safety. 
The girl was laughing ; and she laughed all 
the more when her own donkey, a sage little 
beast called '' California, My Dear," resolved 
to race his stable companion. Tom looked 
back and saw — what, to his amazement, did 
he see ? — the lovely young lady, far ahead 
of her friends, galloping as fast as ever she 
could, after him ! And he heard — what did 
he hear 1 — the lovely young lady's dulcet 
tones speaking to him, most certainly speak- 
ine to him. 

"■ Oh, do please get out of the way \ 
California's coming ! California's coming ! " 

At this moment Oilskin lost his footing 
and disappeared over a precipice, depositing 
saddle and rider at the bottom of a vast 
sandy ditch. Tom was too much astonished 
at finding his donkey in his arms to be 
conscious of LiHth's derision, as she flew 
by on the wings of California's triumph. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY, 57 

After a time Miss Turold pulled up and 
waited for her friends. 

*' Edward, that gentleman has never come 
on. Do you think he can have hurt him- 
self?" 

** It is hardly our affair if he has," said her 
cousin. 

" Yes, but it is, for I upset him. Do 
please go back and see." 

"My dear," said Miss Frost, *' how could 
you gallop after that vulgar man in that 
most extraordinary fashion ? " 

'* Edward," cried Lilith, " if you won't go 
and apologize for me I shall just go myself! " 
And without waiting for a reply she 
summoned Achmed the dragoman and rode 
back to the scene of accident. Edward 
looked apologetically at Miss Frost and 
shruesfed his shoulders. 

When Lilith arrived, she found Tom and 
the ass standing on the causeway and none 
the worse, while the little donkey-boy lay 
on the ground howling and kicking and 



58 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

rolling about. Tom was comforting the 
child with great tenderness, and giving him 
baksheesh innumerable. Then he lifted him 
gently on the donkey, put his arm round 
him, and prepared to lead Oilskin gingerly 
back to Luxor. The boy stopped bellowing 
for a minute to beat him violently in the 
face, which was disconcerting. 

" I'm afraid I have hurt this poor little 
beggar," said Tom in distress, as Lilith 
advanced. " What am I to do .^ " 

At this Achmed the drao^oman burst into a 
torrent of invective, and would have struck 
the boy with the heavy stick he carried had 
not Tom caught the blow with his hand. 

** Oilskin one shocking, one renown bad 
donkey!" cried Achmed. "All the men 
knows he. He no good for no one but 
black, but very black man." 

*' There is nothing the matter with that 
child," pronounced Lilith, '' and you mustn't 
have this bad donkey. You must take 
Achmed's, and he can ride Oilskin back, 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY, 59 

with the boy running as usual. Oh, Achmed 
wasn't told to come with us to day, so don't 
trouble about him, nor about that wicked 
little boy either. Dear no ! he wasn't near 
the donkey, so he couldn't have been hurt. 
It is all a device for baksheesh." 

Behold how easily things arrange them- 
selves ! Presently Tom was mounted on an 
admirable brown ass with a bridle, and was 
riding, alone if you please, beside the white- 
robed lady, who was talking to him as fami- 
liarly as if she had known him for a week. 

*' You aren't much used to these silly 
donkeys, are you?" said Lilith. "You 
know they often fall about. And it was all 
my fault this time. But I couldn't help it. 
I never do know what California will do 
next. I didn't mean to run after you. And 
you didn't mean to bump Miss Frost. You 
must beg her pardon please, just as I have 
begged yours." 

" YozL ? — begged my pardon ? " stammered 
Tom. 



6o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

"And really you mustn't be so kind to 
little donkey-boys. It shows no discern- 
ment of character. They are the most 
egregious little cheats, not worth a kind 
word — so people say." And she glanced 
at the young man's pleasant countenance 
under his sun-helmet, not without a whiff 
of admiration for his good temper about 
his ludicrous accident, and indeed for his 
good looks. They rode on together, not 
rejoining the others. 




CHAPTER II. 



ILITH was the chief speaker. 

'Ts this your first visit to Kar- 

nak ? " 

" Yes," said Tom, his voice soft with 

astonishment and deHght at his good fortune. 
" I wonder what you will say ! Have you 

seen many temples ? " 
" None." 
" None ! Oh, you have only just come 

to Egypt ? " 

" We have been a week in Cairo." 

" What did you see in Cairo ? " 

" We saw — some shops." Tom laughed, 

thinking of his travelling companions. 
" Don't you like ruins, then ? " 
'' I don't think we do particularly." 



62 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

*' But you ought to be ashamed to say 
that ! Why have you come to Egypt if 
you don't like ruins ? " 

'* I think we came — well, I don't know — 
because we heard of so many other people 
coming." 

'' Oh, really But you don't mean it ! " 

cried Lilith, interrupting herself as she 
caught his eye. 

'' You see," said Tom, " I don't call this 
visiting Egypt. Some day I shall come 
again, I hope, and stay longer." 

" But why did you come .^ " 

" Because my friends wished it. We put 
into Alexandria, and one of our party took 
into her head to stay there a bit to help 
at a — Sailors' Home, I believe they call 
it. So the rest of us thought we'd take 
a look at Cairo." 

"You were yachting, then? How nice! 
I have never been on a yacht. What's your 
yacht's name ? " 

" The Mermaidr 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 63 



''Does she belong to that old gentleman?'' 
said Lllith, inquisitively. 

"No, she belongs to me." 

'' Oh ! " said the girl, rather taken aback ; 
" then you are the head of the party ? " 

*' Not when we are ashore. Nowhere, I 
think. Sir Joseph is the head. This is 
the Mermaid's third voyage. My father 
went with me last time, but this year he 
has been too busy. And Sir Joseph— no, 
his wife — was rather ill and ordered a 
voyage. Harris comes as their doctor, and 
the Howes are my cousins ; the other three 
only joined us in Cairo." 

'* And the person who went to the Sailors' 
Home ? " 

"That is Grace — Miss Kidson, Sir Joseph's 
daughter. She is given to all philan- 
thropies." 

" Quite a party," said Lillth, vaguely, and 
gave some details about her friends. 

After this they were silent for a while, and 
the girl felt her companion's eyes watching 



64 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

her. She grew embarrassed and burst into 
talk again. 

'' You don't seem to have come to Luxor 
at all with the proper motives, but I think 
you'll get more than you bargained for." 

*' I have done that already," said Tom, 
impetuously. 

''Dear me," thought Lilith, ''how stupid 
I am to blush at nothing in this way ! " 
Aloud she said — 

" Oh, but you haven't seen anything yet. 
You can't imagine Karnak. No one could. 
It imtst astonish you ! Look, I am only 
going to sketch, but when you have been 
round the temple, do please come and tell 
me what you think of it ! Will you ? " 

" Yes," said Tom, looking away for fear 
she might see too much delight on his face. 

Miss Frost was, of course, painting the 
fallen pillar and the vista of stupendous 
columns which led to it. Lilith had found 
a simpler subject at some distance ; a 
few broken shafts letting in the sunlight, 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 65 

and a glimpse of tender palm trees beyond, 
soaring into the unclouded sky. Edward 
established her comfortably, then wandered 
away in pursuit of some information he was 
collecting for an essay. They were all out 
of sight of each other, and the donkey-boys 
roamed from one to the other, awaiting 
their pleasure. Lilith drew boldly and 
diligently, delighted when a little bird, un- 
used to enemies, perched for a minute on 
her hand. 

'* Have I come too soon ? " asked Tom, 
reappearing later beside the girl. 

She looked up and smiled. Now, Lilith's 
smile was particularly lovely, and the young 
man would have stood there patiently for 
an hour to win its repetition. 

'' Well, did you like it .^ " asked the girl. 

'' Yes." 

" Is that all you have to say ? Oh, I am 
afraid you are quite hopeless ! " 

Tom's eyes wandered away down the long 
aisles with their shattered columns and 

VOL. I. 5 



66 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Strange figures and mystic writing. Here 
and there the sunlight streamed through in 
a flood of glory, and between these bright 
patches were shadows and mysterious depths 
of gloom. There seemed no limit to the 
silent ruins, and only they two, human beings 
of another age, were in sight. 

'' Do you think the people of those days 
were at all like us ? " asked the young man, 
abruptly. 

*' At least their temples weren't much like 
ours," said Lilith, not over-brilliantly. 

" That is it. It seems too far away. 
Like something from another world — so 
huge and deserted and useless. Only good 
to be sketched," he said, a little contemptu- 
ously. 

" Do you mean caricatured ? " 

" Oh no. Indeed, no. I was thinking 
how very well you are doing it. But you 
can't get the size, can you ? No one could 
get the size, not even a photographer." 

'^ Even a photographer ! " echoed Lilith, 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 67 

laying her paint-brush down and looking 
at him, shocked. 

Tom laughed, and Lilith laughed too 
because he did. He felt half wild with 
delight that she should laugh with him. 

*' I suppose you are a photographer," said 
Lilith, severely. 

" I was just wishing I might photograph 
you," replied Tom, boldly. 

" Me ? Oh, I make a very bad photo- 
graph. You should try the temple." 

*' It is too big." 

" Are you angry with it for being big ? " 

" It's just what I like about it. I never 
saw any building that seemed to me really 
big before." 

" Ah, the temple has impressed you ! " 
cried Lilith. *' I knew it would. I kiiew 
you'd feel it ! " She was a little ashamed 
of her enthusiasm, which betrayed a super- 
fluous interest in her companion ; con- 
sequently she relapsed into the conversa- 
tional tone. " But don't you think it very 



68 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

beautiful as well as big ? " she said affably. 
Unfortunately, that betrayal of interest had 
intoxicated her companion. 

*' I think you are so much more beauti- 
ful," cried Tom. 

Lilith flushed all over her face and shut 
her paint-box with a snap. Evidently the 
man was uninstructed in manners. She 
looked round as if hoping her cousin or Miss 
Frost were in sight. 

'* I beg you will not repeat that sort of 
remark," she said haughtily. But, after a 
moment, her genuine annoyance totally and 
unaccountably vanished, and what remained 
was the merest pinchbeck. 

" I did not mean to vex you," said Tom, 
humbly. *' I meant — I think," he floundered 
on, " that any human being, in comparison 
with — masonry — ■ — " Here he stopped, the 
colour spreading over his face, and his heart 
beating as if he were in the midst of a 
declaration of love. 

"You were saying," repeated Lilith, 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 69 

mercilessly, "that any human being, in com- 
parison with masonry " 

" Is more interesting,'' said Tom, feebly. 
It seemed to him that he was somehow 
deceiving her, and presently he added in a 
low voice, " I shouldn't have thought of it, 
if I hadn't been with you who are so 
beautiful." 

Lilith shot him a glance from under her 
eyelashes, and saw his quite uncalled-for 
emotion. She looked away hastily, and 
gave a little disdainful laugh, not per- 
fectly natural and not quite up to time. 
Then, trembling a little, she packed her 
drawing-materials and set off homewards, 
marching haughtily in front of him and 
carrying all her things herself; for Tom, 
devoured by remorse, and his cup of joy 
dashed to the ground, had made no offer of 
assistance. But presently Lilith, threading 
her way among the fallen stones in haste and 
confusion, stumbled ; and he was by her side 
in an instant to lift her up. The girl 



yo THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

snatched herself away from his touch, and 
he drew back at once. Again Lilith glanced 
at him and saw his distress ; and again they 
stood for a long moment, both agitated and 
silent : the girl's eyes on the distance ; his 
on her, yet seeing vaguely beyond her light 
figure the strange lines, the gloom, the vast- 
ness and the mystery of the Great Hall in 
which they were. That background added 
to her charm ; it seemed as if to-day's fair 
vision of girlish beauty had come to him 
imbued and inspired by all the lost romance 
of five thousand vanished years. The young 
man shuddered with awe and enchantment, 
and felt like one falling in a dream over 
a precipice into some unsounded abyss of 
happiness. 

But now, like unwelcome thoughts. Miss 
Frost and Edward appeared, verging to the 
donkeys, and Lilith sprang back into her 
everyday self. 

'' Thank you, Mr. . But I don't know 

your name } " she said carelessly, when, a 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. Jl 

few moments later, Tom had helped her to 
mount California, My Dear. 

*' My name is Palmer," said he. 

''Palmer!" cried Lilith, looking at him 
with a quite new expression now. Then she 
laughed, angry with herself and angry with 
him. "Are you going to live in a great, 
stripy house at Silcote Dene .'^ " she asked 
with slight sarcasm. 

"Yes," answered Tom, detecting it; 
"why?" 

"Oh, nothing. Only we shall be neigh- 
bours. I am Lilith Turold." 

In a moment Tom was far away from 
Karnak and the enchanted maid standing 
with bated breath beside him in the Hall of 
Columns. He was looking at an English 
sunset sky, an English house with mullioned 
windows, and battlements standing up dark 
against the heavenly gold. He heard the 
nightingale's bursting notes, and in the far 
distance he saw a white-robed form in a 
terraced o^arden, looking, as he fancied. 



72 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



across the valley towards himself. " I knew 
it was Lilith Turold ! " exclaimed the young 
man, joyously, out of his own thoughts. 

Edward raised his eyes and stared at him 
with the greatest astonishment and dis- 
pleasure ; then moved to Lilith's side and 
kept guard over her the whole way back to 
Luxor. 




CHAPTER III. 



"raiLITH TUROLD!" thought Tom ; 

' — -' "and now I am in the same house 
with her, and I am goings to live in a place 
where I shall see her every day ! " 

No more practical reflections came into 
the foolish lad's thoughts ; for he was new 
to love, and it swept him off his feet and 
whirled him away before he at all realized 
what it was that had happened. After 
sitting for a long time in his room, smiling 
and doing nothing, his eye fell at last on a 
letter patiently awaiting his attention the 
whole afternoon. It was from Grace Kidson, 
who had stayed behind in Alexandria ; and 
Tom broke the seal now with very languid 
attention, for he was preoccupied, and 



74 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Grace's epistles were apt to be long and a 
little highflown and tedious. 

Indeed, this one, as he read it, seemed 
almost nonsense to him. Trifling about 
English bluejackets, and philanthropic ladies 
in '' beautiful, self-denying, voluntary exile ; " 
one of them, the friend who had helped 
Grace with her little English Convalescent 
Home, and who, to say truth, had left it very 
awkwardly in the lurch by sudden desire for 
missionary work in the East : " which, indeed, 
was reasonable," wrote Grace, " considering 
her attainments in Arabic, though as yet 
her work here is chiefly among Europeans. 
Her humility strikes me as very lovely." 
Tom skipped a little here and tried again 
on the next page. *' Lydia and I sat up 
half the night discussing our work In the 
dear past together. She remembers each 
one of our patients in the Home, and asked 
me so much about them and about our move 
to the larger house. And now, Tom, I 
come to the point of this letter. You 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 75 

remember my dear consumptive woman with 
the bad husband ? Of course you do, for 
you told me you had seen her before ever I 
did. Well, her greatest wish, now she is 
dying, is to find that wretched man to assure 
him of her pardon. And what do you 
think ? Lydia Farrant has seen him — here, 
in Alexandria, some months ago. He was 
on his way to Upper Egypt. Tom, yo2c 
may come across him there. You remember 
his name ? And if so, do please speak to 
him of his duty " 

At this point Tom threw the letter away, 
and got up rubbing his forehead with a look 
of extreme annoyance. Grace was really 
too silly, both in the things she herself under- 
took and in those she expected of other 
people. B7ct 

Then tinkled the dinner-bell ; and Tom 
dressed hurriedly, and, having thrust the 
unfinished letter into his pocket, he started 
for the dining-room, still looking vexed. 
Some trifling disarrangement of his watch- 



76 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

chain detained him in the passage; and while 
he was putting himself in order, a gust of 
wind blew a door suddenly open, and he 
heard fragments of a conversation going 
on in the room it belonged to. 

*' If it was a mere question of a girl," said 
a lady's voice, " I wouldn't press you, 
Edward. But by your dilatoriness, to run 
the risk of losing such a splendid posi- 
tion " 

" Of course," interrupted a quiet, slightly 
sneering voice, " the position is the im- 
portant point ; Lilith herself is of no con- 
sequence. But you know Gilbert is certain 
to marry again." 

" The prize is so great," urged the lady, 
'* that it is absurd to lose a chance of obtain- 
ing it. Even if Gilbert does marry again, 
Lilith may still be his heir." 

" Quite so," said the other ; '' I will secure 
her at once. And now let us go down to 
dinner, my dear mother, or Princess Lilith 
will lose all patience with us both." 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. "JJ 

Tom marched down the stairs, his head 
erect, and his brows drawn together alarm- 
ingly, for, like a young gamecock, he was 
ready to fly at any shadow of a rival. This 
man Vane was a suitor for Miss Turold's 
hand, was he ? And a vile, mercenary suitor 
too ? And besides that— — 

Edward Vane sat at the head of the dinner 
table ; next to him, Lilith ; next to her, his 
mother; at the other side, the LP. Edward 
talked to Lilith, and conversed also in 
admirable French with the gentleman from 
Paris. No one spoke to the Important 
Party ; but, with the exception of young 
Palmer who was watching Miss Turold, 
they chattered much and noisily among 
themselves. The boy with the fly-whisk 
solemnly fanned the doctor, and the private 
servants ran hither and thither with wine 
and ice which Sir Joseph had brought from 
Shepheard's in two great chests. The 
foreigners were lost in amazement at these 
Britons, and Lady Caroline Vane exchanged 



yS THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

with Miss Frost a few contemptuous re- 
marks. 

Having taken a not unnatural antipathy 
to the whole Important Party, Edward felt 
his nerves too much jarred to remain after 
dinner in their vicinity. His cup of 
Turkish coffee in his hand, he retired to his 
own room and sat down to his magazine 
essay ; for it was his practice to avoid idle- 
ness and to think as little as possible, a 
habit which obtains when thought is apt to 
be disagreeable. But the grounds had not 
yet settled in his coffee, and he had not yet 
selected a satisfactory pen, before he re- 
ceived a visit from Tom Palmer ; who was 
still wearing his air of exasperated game- 
cock with ruffled feathers, angry spurs, and 
sharpened beak. 

" Damn your impudence ! " said the wonder 
in Edward Vane's handsome brown eves, 
but his lips with cold civility offered his 
visitor welcome and a chair. Tom declined 
the latter and made no reply to Edward's 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 79 

random observations on the heat, the moon, 
and the noise in the pubHc saloon. He had 
come on a serious matter, and could think of 
nothing else. 

" I want to speak to you," said young 
Palmer bluntly, " about a woman named 
Sarah Williams." 

** Sarah Williams ? " repeated Edward. 
" I don't know any one of that name." He 
scarcely looked at his visitor, and betrayed 
no agitation. 

'' You do know her ! " cried Tom ; " her 
name is now the same as your own. She 
is your wife ! " 

'* I am really obliged to you for the in- 
formation," said Edward, smiling, and 
delicately sipping his unstrained coffee. 

" But I saw you married," said Tom. 

''Really.^" 

'* Yes. I knew Sarah. I knew you — by 
sight. It was my first term at Cambridge. 
Sarah was my bedmaker's sister." 

" Are you really a university man ? As 



8o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

to an acquaintance with a bedmaker s 

sister " Edward shrugged his shoulders, 

intimating that such a possIblHty was no fit 
subject for discussion. He was growing 
paler, however. 

Tom continued. 

" I had run up to town one day to see 
my father. He had a shop in the Gray's 
Inn Road then. As I was passing I saw 
Sarah go into St. Chad's Church, which, I 
suppose, is about the least known church In 
London. Something in her look made me 
curious, and I went Into the church after her. 
I saw you there, and I saw you and her 
married." 

" You are sure It was I ? " 

" Quite sure." 

Edward Vane reflected, drinking his coffee 
leisurely. 

"Well," he said at last, " I never entangle 
myself in useless lies. Your information is 
correct. May I Inquire what It Is you 
want ? " 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY, 8 I 

Just then a knock came at the door and 
LiHth's voice. 

" Edward ! Edward ! aren't you coming 
out ? There's such a moon. Let's have 
our walk." 

Edward was very pale now. He held up 
his hand warningly, then opened the door 
a little without disclosing his visitor and 
stepped Into the passage. 

'' In ten minutes, Lllith. By the time 
your hat Is on." 

He returned, again demanding silence till 
the girl had passed out of earshot. 

''You will understand, Mr. Palmer," said 
Edward, with white lips, ''that the matter 
we were discussing Is not to be mentioned 
to my mother or my cousin." 

" I shall certainly mention It," burst out 
Tom, hotly, " if I see you making love to 
that young lady." 

" Your remark is insulting," said Edward 
more quietly than ever ; and for a moment 
the two looked at each other — Tom, checked, 

VOL. I. 6 



82 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

but Still with flashing eyes of great wrath, 
and Edward with calm, sad ones, which 
resented impertinence. 

" The honour of a gentleman," began 
Edward, at last, *'when he finds he has 
intruded into a secret " 

'' I see you don't consider me a gentle- 
man," interrupted the other ; '' my father is 
a tradesman. Perhaps I don't know much 
about honour, but I do about honesty." 

" My dear sir," said Edward, bending his 
head graciously, " honour and honesty are 
synonyms, and the sharp lines you draw 
between classes are out of date. We are 
all gentlemen already, and we shall all be 
tradesmen in the course of the next ^v^ 
and twenty years. May I again ask what 
it is you want ? " 

After this bad beginning it was not 
possible to do much as to Grace's ill-judged 
commission, and Tom, indeed, had no interest 
in it himself. He spoke with embarrass- 
ment, conscious now of officiousness. Sarah 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 83 

Williams, or Vane, the woman in question, 
was ill, disowned, deserted, dependent 
upon the charity of a young lady philan- 
thropist — 

" You are mistaken," said Edward, " I 
have done everything for her which is in- 
cumbent upon me. She is taking the lady 
philanthropist in. Through my lawyer I 
have accurate information of her health. 
In a few days she will be dead, and the 
tie between us severed ; not having owned 
it before, I have not the faintest intention 
of owning it now. Unless, Mr. Palmer, you 
are a pronounced sentimentalist, you will 
understand that I do not look forward with 
any regret to my wife's death." 

" Why did you marry her ? " cried Tom, 
simple himself, and brought up by simple 
people who thought marriages eternal and 
very sacred. 

Edward raised his eyebrows. 

" Why .'^ Because I was a fool, sir, and 
she was a humbug. There you have the 



84 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Story in a nutshell. It is obliging of me to 
answer these questions, which I might, if I 
chose, consider impertinent. If you have 
more to say I will refer you to my lawyer. 
The subject is distasteful to me." 

Thus the interview ended, and Tom went 
angrily downstairs. The graces of Edward's 
manner had made him conscious of his own 
rudeness, though he still had the enthusiasm 
of a knight-errant rushing to deliver an 
innocent damsel from the wiles of a villain. 

Edward, very pale as he pressed his hand 
to his throbbing brow, delayed a moment 
before joining his cousin. '' That coarse 
brute will tell her," he said to himself. 
'' I see he is going to fall in love with 
her, and she is coquette enough to amuse 
herself with him for a day or two, in 
which space of time he can ruin me. 
The right thing would be to make a clean 
breast of it to Lilith myself She might 
forgive it, told so ; and Sarah, who has been 
dying for two years, cannot live beyond a 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 85 

week now." But he sighed, doubting Lilith's 
affection, and doubting his own power of 
making a touching confession : a fiction 
Edward could utter glibly and gracefully 
enough ; truths made him stammer. And he 
had a firm conviction that the star under which 
he had been born was an unlucky one. 

Five minutes later he was in the presence 
of the innocent and sparkling Lllith. It was 
not yet nine, and the moon was magnificent. 
Miss Frost and the German archseoloQ^Ist 
were waiting with the girl, and the donkeys 
were saddled. 

*'As you didn't come, Edward," cried 
Lllith, " we have settled it all for you. We 
are going to Karnak." 

While she spoke, a noisy altercation was 
in progress between Sir Joseph Kidson and 
his dragoman. 

'' My father, yes," said the latter, 
vehemently, " one dahabeah here, but no 
sailor men, no servant men for to cook the 
dinner and ring the bells." 



86 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

"• Then engage the men to-night ! " shouted 
Sir Joseph ; '' money Is no h'object with 
h'us." 

'' But, my big sir. men all finished," 
groaned the dragoman. 

** He means," interposed Tom, pacifically, 
'' that we must wait for the next steamer." 

** But Fm not going to wait in a beastly 
hole like this, where there's nothing to do 
and the climate is so Indigestible ! I'll return 
to Cairo in a private boat to-morrow. It's 
an Imposition of Cook's, the whole thing. 
I won't be taken in ; I'll write to the Times, 
I'm an Englishman, not a Mossoo ; and I've 
come abroad for my 'ealth, sir. Do you hear 
me, Tom ? Order the private boat, or 
whatever the fool calls it, for to-morrow." 

"For my own part," said Tom, sighing, 
'' I like this place very much." 

" Come with us now'' whispered Lilith, 
'' if you are really going to-morrow." 

'' I misdoubt that," whispered Tom, smiling 
at her. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. Sj 

"Lilith," said Edward, "we have been 
to Karnak by moonlight too often as it is. 
I don't vote for this expedition." 

The German now put on his spectacles 
and advanced into the middle of the group. 

'' If we could get to Koorneh," he said, 
" I should explain to you, Herr Vane, my 
important discovery of Seti divining by the 
Sirius and the pole-star ; and the mystic- 
pointing- in-ze-secret-shrlne-recess-of-ze-in- 
side-temple-room-hole. He did go down 
by ze roof. It is what you see not by 
sunshine, and the go-up is not difficult, except 
to a stout like me. It will instruct these 
ladies. So ? " 

" Oh yes, Edward, let us do that ! " cried 
Lillth, overruling all objections ; '' we shall 
be home by one o'clock. When you go to 
a ball, Edward, you are never home by one, 
are you ? Achmed, is the ferry-boat ready, 
and can we get the donkeys across ? " 
Then she turned to Tom again. '' If you 
go to-morrow, Mr. Palmer, this is the 07ie 



SS THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

chance you have of seeing Koorneh and the 
Colossi. Indeed, if I were you, I'd push on 
to the tombs. They have saddled Oilskin 
for you, I see ; and perhaps you'll have the 
joy of another tumble ! " 

The Princess got her way, of course, 
though Edward objected and Miss Frost 
would have preferred her bed. Soon the 
whole party were on the other side of the 
Nile, and talking and laughing with the 
pleasant sense of doing something spirited. 
The mighty Oilskin set off at once at full 
speed across the desert, and Lilith required 
her cousin^s assistance to prevent California, 
My Dear from following him. Still keeping 
his hand on her rein, Edward withdrew the 
girl to the tail of the procession. Already 
Lilith was feeling a little annoyed with him, 
and was prepared to contradict everything 
he said. 

" My dear Lilith," remonstrated Edward, 
'' why are you bent on turning that poor 
Goth's head ? Considering that at home 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 89 

he's to be your next-door neighbour, you 
should take care how you prepare awkward- 
nesses for yourself and every one else." 

" Oh, nonsense ! " said Lilith, reddening 
and answering at random ; " neither he 
nor I will be stuck at home for ever, I 
suppose." 

" I don't see what you mean," said 
Edward, coldly ; *' and Molesworthy is quite 
within reach of annoyance from Silcote 
Dene." 

''Well, I'm sure I don't see v^\i2Xyou mean, 
Edward ! Lady Caroline said something 
about inviting me in August, I believe. 
Are you going to have visitors at Moles- 
worthy this autumn, Edward ? " 

" I don't know about this autumn. I 
hope to have visitors some day. If you will 
play hostess, Lilith." 

The girl stared. 

*' How very odd you are, Edward! How 
could /play hostess .'^ " She met her cousin's 
eye, in which was a certain pathos, and 



90 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

blushed suddenly and looked down, expect- 
ing him to go on. Edward remained silent. 
" You shouldn't be so ambiguous, Edward ! " 
she laughed. '' Pray was that a proposal ? '* 

" To say ' no,' " thought Edward, *' would 
be the snub direct." 

'' Lilith, yes." 

'* Did Lady Caroline send you to do 
it ? " said Lilith, not sure if he were not 
jesting. 

He smiled. 

'' I think I may really say she did." 

'' Dear me ! And papa too, I suppose ? " 

'' Oh, certainly." 

" Edward, I don't like this way of talking. 
What on earth do you mean ? " 

He laid his hand on hers. 

'' That the arrangement hinted at would 
meet with the approbation of our elders." 

Lilith snatched her hand away. 

'' Edward ! IVe only had one proposal 
before, but I have read a great many, and 
you are the very first person I ever heard 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY, QT 

of who began about the approbation of 
elders." 

A pause. 

" You see, I had meant to put this con- 
versation off a bit," said Edward, in his 
ironic way, but looking troubled. 

" Really, Edward — till when, pray ? " 

" Till I thought you would accept me." 

The girl looked him up and down in 
astonishment. 

" Do you wish it yourself ? " she 
stammered — " this arrangement which you 
think would please our elders ? " 

'' Very much," began Edward, still with 
apparent coldness ; " but, Lilith, I know this 
is premature. You had better forget it, dear 
child, for the present, till you " 

Lilith struck California a smart tap and 
cantered on a little way, then pulled up 
abruptly. 

'' Edward, you are too odd. You begin, 
and then you draw back. You've been told 
to do it, I suppose, and can't quite work 



92 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

yourself up to it. I'll never be friends with 
you again ! " cried the girl. '' How dare 
you say one word about it, if you don't 
mean it ? " 

Her lip quivered indignantly; yet Edward 
was still silent, staring straight between his 
donkey's ears. At this moment Tom Palmer, 
still at the head of the party, turned round 
and looked back at Lilith and her companion. 

" He intends to tell her," groaned Edward 
Vane, inwardly. *' Good God ! to be in the 
power of a brute like that ! This is my 
only chance of setting myself right with 
her." 

Then he said, '' I should like to explain, 
Lilith dear, if you would have patience." 

" Well, go on ; I am not impatient, am I, 
Edward '^ But you must speak plainly, 
and not in this rude, jesting way. Do you 
wish to marry me, Edward, or do you not ? 
Or is this all to please papa .^ " 

Even in the moonlight Lilith could see 
his pallor, and was half frightened. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 



'' I do wish it, Lilith, more than I can 
express ; only — not just yet." 

" I won't marry you at all ! Not yet ? 
It's such a strange thing to say ! " 

" I want you to engage yourself to me," 
said Edward, desperately. '* Wish it ? I 
could never express to you, Lilith, how 
much I wish it. It was your mother's wish. 
For Heaven's sake, don't say yoic don't 
wish it ! " 

"Of course, darling mother's wish " 

began Lilith, more gently. 

** Lilith — Lilith, promise!" exclaimed 
Edward. 

The girl was beginning to believe in his 
earnestness. 

"If you are sure you haven't an aversion 
to me," she said, laughing nervously. '' I 
always supposed it might come to this, 
Edward, but I can't half understand you 
yet." 

She was near crying, for it seemed to her 
that she was bidding good-bye to all romance 



94 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

and all hope of love (too undignified a thing 
for Miss Turold) for ever. 

Edward was off his beast in a moment, 
and had thrown his arm round her. But 
Lllith drew back scared. Unsurprised to 
find she had engaged herself to her cousin, 
the idea that he was going to kiss her filled 
her nevertheless with dismay. 

'' Edward, no ! no ! not here, please. Not 
now. I don't wish it, Edward ! " she cried. 

He retired. xA.fter all, it was only what 
he had expected ; he did not think that Lilith 
loved him. But come, he had her promise ! 
Her dead mother had helped him effectually ; 
Lilith had consented. They moved on 
silently, Edward leading his donkey with one 
hand on California, My Dear. He was still 
thinking with exasperation of Tom Palmer. 

** Lilith, after all I have not explained 
why I said ' not yet.' You believe that 
It Is not because I don't love you ? " 

*' I like to think you are fond of me, 
Edward," said the innocent girl, blushing. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 95 

'' I suppose you think Tm too young, and 
that papa will wish a delay ; but I — I don't 
know that he and grandpapa " 

" My God ! yes, there must be delay," 
exclaimed Edward, harshly, the veins 
starting on his forehead. '' I'd like to say 
marry me to-morrow, Lilith ; but I can't do 
it. Simply I can't. Lilith, you must listen. 
I should not tell you if I were not forced 
to it — by a sense of duty," said Edward, with 
more policy than truth. " Will you be 
merciful, Lilith, my dearest Lilith ? " 

" Dear me, Edward ! have you been 
doing anything wrong ? " asked the young 
creature, very much mystified and a good 
deal frightened. 

'' No, Lilith, I have done nothing wrong. 
No. But listen : once, long ago, I did do 
something incredibly foolish. The effects 
of my folly are all but at an end. In a 
month, a week, by the next post perhaps, 
I shall learn that I am free. Our engage- 
ment must wait, Lilith. I am not free to-day. 



96 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Lilith, you will never see her, never hear 
of her again from me or from any one. 
She is dying, is dead I dare say by this time. 
But, good God ! Lilith, — she is my wife." 

The girl was too young to feel anything 
but ignorant horror and indignation as she 
faintly echoed his concluding words. 

'' Your wife ? " she said ; then repeated, in 
a low yet ringing voice of keen displeasure, 
" your wife, Edward ? And you have been 
asking me to marry you ? " 

Lilith struck her donkey and galloped 
away into the moonlight, leaving her com- 
panion alone. He had not made a moving 
confession. She was as much shocked as 
if she had learned the truth from a stranger, 
instead of from the penitent himself. She 
galloped away into the moonlight, leaving 
her cousin alone ; and at the moment he 
was conscious of little more than a wish to 
murder the wretched, rash, intruding fool 
whose meddling had ruined his patient 
playing of a delicate game. 



CHAPTER IV. 

p^OM PALMER was standing at the 
^MMl entrance to the temple of Koorneh ; 
leaning disconsolately against his donkey, 
and watching the light-flooded path by which 
he had come. 

*' I fancy," said Miss Frost to the German, 
" that young man is less boorish than we 
supposed. Look at him standing there 
entranced by the mere outside of these 
glorious halls." 

" He looks to ze moon," said the German, 
contemptuously ; and the pair passed into the 
temple together. 

Presently Lilith rode up alone, with 
frightened eyes ; searching anxiously for a 
protector. Miss Frost, Achmed even, were 

VOL. I. 7 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



out of sight. Without waiting for help, she 
jumped off her donkey and ran to Tom. 

'' Let me walk with you," she said 
hurriedly. 

Stepping by her side, Tom led her into 
the central hall, which was chequered by 
great bars of light across deep shadow. Lilith 
paused, and leaning her head against one of 
the darkened columns she covered her face 
with her hands. So far she had kept back her 
tears, but they forced their way now, burning 
drops of indignation ; and Tom stood by 
her without a word, his heart beating furiously. 
After a minute he ventured to touch her, 
laying one finger gently on her wrist. 

'' Thank you," said Lilith, faintly. *' I'm 
better now. You are very kind. I — have 
been rather upset." 

Then Edward entered, pale, but quite 
calm. He had delayed outside asking the 
guides which way the ladies had gone, and 
bargaining with the ubiquitous scarab- 
monger. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 99 



Lilith dashed her tears away and stood 
upright. 

"Stay with me, Mr. Palmer," she said 
hastily ; " let him go on." 

Edward threw them a glance and passed 
in through a small chamber to the west of 
the hall with the papyrus stalk columns, 
where Amen Ra and the first Rameses are 
recelvlno; the latter's grandson, and Thoth 
is ticking off Pharaoh's praises on a palm 
branch. 

Tom looked again at the agitated girl. 
Holding the clue, he was able to make some 
guess at what had happened, but to Lilith 
his reserve and tact seemed miraculous 
almost. 

He was gently leading her on, when INIiss 
Frost appeared, running. 

*' Oh, my dear Miss Turold ! " she cried, 
''do pray remonstrate with your cousin. 
Such a place as Herr Stiehl and he are 
climbing to ! It is positively not safe. No 
explanation of a pole-star is worth it." 



lOO THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

'' Could you take me home, do you 
think ? " said Lillth abruptly to Tom, turn- 
ing from the harmless lady. 

And now from within a shout was heard 
and a low rumble. Then a crash of falling 
masonry, another cry, and a thud as if some 
one had fallen ; and then again the clatter of 
stones and the rumble of things slipping, 
slipping endlessly. Miss Frost screamed, 
and ran hither and thither wrinsfinof her 
hands ; and Lilith turned a frightened gaze 
to her companion. 

*' I will go and see what is the matter," 
he said ; while Achmed and the donkey- 
boys ran up, and Herr Stiehl was seen 
approaching, his clothes torn and powdered 
and his face cut. 

'' It is my failure," cried the German, in- 
coherently. ''I am a schtout, and I do move 
small schtones as we mount. The young 
gentleman gifs me his hand, but I slip and 
I jomp back, and the schtones go into holes 
and he falls. He falls not far, no; but he 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. lOJ 

rises not up ; and because I am a schtout, I 
fear myself to go down to him or he bury 
become." 

As he spoke he was hurrying them on, 
leading the way to a ruin of fallen roof and 
broken columns beyond the western hall ; 
and when he and Tom had climbed over a 
mass of some height, he pointed to a chasm 
where were signs of recent disturbance, and 
where heavy blocks had poised themselves 
temporarily on insecure resting-places. 

Tom lay down at full length and peered 
into the dark cavity. A faint reflection of 
moonllofht showed him Edward's white face 
and open eyes, below but at no great 
distance. 

'' Are you hurt ? " asked Tom. 

** Not much," answered Edward, faintly, 
*' but my leg is jammed. Mind what you 
do ; everything is loose." 

**We must have a light," said Tom. 
" Hold out a minute as you are and I'll come 
to you." He pushed Achmed and the boys 



I02 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

back from the slippery heap and retreated 
himself. " But what a mad place to have 
got into!" he said to the German. *' It's 
like climbing over egg-shells. We shall 
hardly get the man out without crushing 
him first." 

"You are a schtout too," said Herr Stiehl, 
surveying the young English giant in a 
manner not wholly complimentary. "Just 
now you lie on that big schtone which make 
ze bridge, but because you are a schtout you 
roll away two schtone more ; and when you 
go on ze bridge next to get to ze hole where 
lie ze gentleman, the bridge and you to- 
gether go down into ze hall of the four 
pillars ; and the bridge break, and you do 
break too, and the young gentleman bury ;, 
or else he fall through the bottom of ze hole 
into ze hall of the four pillars and break 
too." 

" I must have a rope," said Tom, not 
understanding this jargon, but surveying 
the bridge alluded to with keen suspicion. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. IO3 



The rabble produced sashes and linen 
garments, which they tore and knotted in a 
spendthrift way, till they had made a long 
strincr of no o^reat strencrth. Then Herr 
Stiehl and Miss Frost withdrew arm-in-arm» 
and Tom chased the donkey-boys away with 
a stick. 

" I am going to stay here and watch," said 
Lilith, pale but resolute. 

''There is no danger," said Tom, taking 
off his coat, " if I can manage to displace 
nothing. If I am a schtout, as the old 
mossoo says, it will help me to wrestle with 
the weight on your friend's leg." 

" Stout ? " said Lilith, with the curious 
triviality of agitation. '* That is not what 
he meant. You are not stout. Herr Stiehl's 
English is not at all good." 

Tom jumped the so-called bridge, really 
with considerable trepidation ; for he had no 
run to speak of, light there was almost none, 
and he had no faith that the thino^ he was 
jumping on to was in the least secure. When 



I04 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

he saw the leap begin, Achmed uttered 
a long howl of horror ; which, without break, 
turned into peals of triumph as the English- 
man cleared the chasm, and landed, stagger- 
ing but safe, on the other side. Sitting on 
the stones and laughing, Tom looked back at 
Lilith and saw that her slim white fingers 
were clutching the rock nervously. She had 
been frightened by the leap, though she had 
not realized its actual danger. 

Tom disappeared down the cavity in which 
Edward was imprisoned ; and for a time 
Lilith saw only the faint red glow of the 
flickering candle and the occasional brilliant 
flashes cast by the magnesium wire. She 
heard talking for a few minutes; then muffled 
noises and quick, short groans. At last, by 
the force of Tom's arm, aided by the im- 
provised rope, Edward was lifted out into 
the air again, where the first thing he did 
was to faint away from the pain of his 
injured leg. 

*' Shall I come to you ? " called Lilith. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. IO5 

'' No, no, Miss Turold, on no account," 
cried Tom, aghast. *' But find my flask, 
please, in my coat-pocket and throw it 
over to me," he said, smiHng at her reas- 
suringly. 

Edward revived after a few moments, and 
then Tom, having surveyed him and the 
situation critically, picked him up bodily in 
his arms and carried him up a few steep 
steps to a position of greater security and 
comfort. 

By this time the moon was going down, 
and she no longer poured her beams upon 
the ruins ; the large bats which haunt all 
Egyptian temples were wheeling about in 
full activity, uttering their peculiar shriek, 
more eerie than any other natural sound. 

'' I am a fool to take this leap again," said 
Tom to himself, as he prepared to jump 
back ; for the longing to hear Lilith's sweet 
voice speaking to himself was irresistible 
and he yielded to it. 

'' You are very strong," murmured the girl. 



I06 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

raising her eyes to his ; and the young man 
flushed dehghtedly at her praise. 

Then he told her that it was impossible to 
get the injured man across the broken bridge, 
unassisted ; and that, in the present darkness, 
to look for another exit was impossible too. 
He would himself remain with Edward, and 
the rest of the party must return at once to 
the hotel for assistance ; and " for our doctor 
chap," ended Tom, ** who will come in handy 
after all." 

*' Let the others go," said Lilith. '' I will 
stay here with you. And you mustn't jump 
over that fearful place again, Mr. Palmer. 
We can talk to Edward and cheer him up 
from here." It was a dangerously charming 
proposal, and Tom hesitated. But having 
made his second jump to please himself, it 
was a point of honour now not to shirk the 
return to his post; and clearly Lilith ought to 
go home. He steeled his heart and ordered 
her away; then jumping, though safely, a 
little less cleverly than before, the shock of 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. T07 

his welcrht loosened the stones of the 
treacherous bridge upon which he had not 
dared to set his foot, and they slipped away 
and were smashed in the hall below. 

" Look what you walked over half an 
hour ago," said Tom, settling himself down 
for his watch beside the victim of the 
accident. 

"■ I am indebted to you for your assistance, 
sir," said Edward, coldly ; and turned away, 
enraged by his own helplessness and by the 
conviction that this man and Lilith had 
some understanding together, if only the 
understanding that she had quarrelled with 
her cousin. 

After this they were chiefly silent, waiting 
there together in the dark, Edward in great 
suffering, which he steadily denied. The 
hours passed slowly ; now and then the 
hideous howl of the jackals was heard below 
in the deserted hall ; and once the lean form 
and the blazing eyes of one night wanderer 
appeared on a broken shaft near the watchers, 



io8 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



visible in the faint light of the earliest dawn. 
At last, to Tom's relief, Dr. Harris and 
the rescue party arrived, and Edward was 
safely transported to Luxor. 




CHAPTER V. 



FTER this Lilith had much time for 



reflection, 



ao^amst 

o 



for nursing her grievance 
her cousin, and for fuming with 



annoyance that, when he had behaved so 
disgracefully, she should be expected to be 
sorry for his accident and kind to him. 
Edward had taken to his bed, and Lady 
Caroline, of course, sat in her son's room 
as head-nurse. In her first agitation she 
accepted assistance from Lady Kidson ; an 
act of weakness which she quickly regretted, 
and for w^hich she apologized to Lilith a 
orreat deal more than the orirl thought 
necessary. The young couple with the 
sister returned to Cairo by the first steamer, 
but the Kidsons stayed on to be of *' h'use ; " 



no THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Harris could not leave his patient, and 
Tom Palmer and the Howes professed to 
like Luxor and to remain for their own 
amusement. '' I see I have brought a nest 
of hornets about me," said Lady Caroline, 
when her anxiety about her son was lessened, 
and the LP. were still in the house. 

For poor Lady Kidson, in her effusive kind- 
liness, did certainly become a little trying. 
" The hotel-keeper was going to grumble at 
'aving to keep his 'ouse open so long," she 
said to the stately mother of the invalid ; 
" but I told 'im it would be a feather in his 
'at to 'ave two ladies of title staying so long 
with him ; and parties who don't mind extra 
charges." And she showed her beautiful 
Grace's photograph and praised the lovely 
education Sir Joseph had given her ; and 
said her ofreat wish now was that her ^vc\ 
should move in stylish society, and that as 
they all lived at Molesworthy it would be 
quite convenient, if her ladyship liked to 
introduce her a little. 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 1 1 I 

" I am more sorry than I can say, Lilith," 
said Lady Caroline, "that you should be 
exposed to contact with such dreadful 
people. It is fortunate you have Miss 
Frost to go sketching with ; and it is an 
opportunity for you to improve your 
German by conversation with Herr Stiehl." 

*' Yes, indeed," said Lilith ; " I am really 
not a bit lonely." 

But not the German archaeologist, nor the 
English old maid, nor even Achmed the 
dragoman was Lilith's invariable companion 
when she went out sketching, or exploring, 
or mere donkey-galloping in the long, sultry, 
rose-tinted afternoons on the borders of the 
most wonderful river in the world. The 
days glided deliciously on like a summer 
holiday in an enchanted country ; and Lilith 
Turold bothered herself neither about Lady 
Kidson's poverty in h's, nor about Edward 
Vane's broken leg, but was entirely con- 
tent and happy. 

Till a day came, after a week or two of 



112 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

this tranquillity, when the down steamer was 
again expected, and the question had come 
up again if the Important Party, leaving 
Harris perhaps, ought not now to go away. 
The khamseen was blowing, and had 
driven everybody indoors. Lady Caroline 
was with her son ; Lady Kidson and Louisa 
were packing ; Sir Joseph was asleep ; and 
Dr. Harris was smoking and playing ecarte 
with Jim Howe, in very light costume in 
a bedroom. Tom Palmer and Lilith Turold 
had the readino^-room to themselves : and 
they were singing together at the jingly 
little piano, which for some occult reason 
seemed to Tom, the musician, the most 
delicious instrument he had ever come across. 
There can be no doubt that, for a damsel 
professedly ''fond of music," a young man 
with gifts like Tom's was a dangerous 
companion. He seemed able to play from 
memory whatever she asked for, and he 
could play out of his head too, which was to 
her something absolutely magical. But all 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 



this was nothinof to his sinQfine. He had 
a magnificent voice of great compass and 
exquisite tone, which could thunder hke the 
sea, or be modulated to a clear, soft whisper 
like '' the voice of a soul." At least so it 
seemed to Lilith. iVnd in Mr. Palmers 
present frame of mind, the most wildly 
passionate love songs were what suited him 
best. Lilith shivered now and then as she 
listened, and a lump came in her throat 
very frequently and a dew on her eyelashes, 
which she hoped the singer did not observe. 

" Oh love ! my love ! If I no more should see 
Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee, 

Nor image of thine eyes in any spring, 
How then should sound, upon Life's darkening slope, 
The groundwhirl of the perished leaves of Hope, 
The wind of Death's imperishable wing ! " 

It was no use ! Lilith turned away with 
a little laugh which ended in a sob, and 
threw herself on a sofa near the darkened 
window ; and Tom, after sweeping wildly 
over the keys for a minute or two, ended 
with a few grand chords, and then went and 

VOL. I. 8 



114 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

Stood beside her. Evening was falling-, and 
the pitiless sand pelting the glass in quick, 
hot gusts seemed to make the twilight 
tremulous. Sand spouts were whirling along 
at the edge of the river like dancing ghosts ; 
but the stream and the mountains, where are 
the tombs of the kings, were all blotted out ; 
the very garden flowers and shrubs were 
dimmed as if something had pushed all life 
and nature away behind a veil. And the 
two young creatures, with music ringing in 
their ears and thrilling in their finger-ends, 
seemed the two only things left distinct and 
clear to each other in the whole world. 

Full of tears were Lilith's eyes, and she 
met Tom's ardent gaze the more steadily 
that she knew the fall of one eyelash would 
betray her with obvious drops. 

'* You liked that song ? " said he at last in 
a very low voice, which yet to her was dis- 
tinct as to him her white dress and black 
ribbons and small clenched fist were distinct 
ao-ainst the fog of the storm - darkened 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. II5 

windows. And when she made no answer, 
he suddenly stretched out his hands to 
her, and said her name, all the music 
still vibratinor in his voice and hushinor 
her to complete surrender as he took her 
hands and held them pressed tightly in 
his quivering clasp. He waited a moment, 
which seemed long to them both in this 
mood of excited expectancy ; then bent over 
her slowly, slowly, nearer and nearer, till his 
lips met hers. Lilith gave one little 
smothered cry, but made no sort of resist- 
ance. *' Oh love ! my love ! " murmured 
Tom, both her hands still crushed in his, 
and his right arm thrown round her, pressing 
her closely to his breast while he kissed her. 

At last he drew back with a triumphant 
joy upon his face, which gave him, to her 
eyes, the burning glory of the conquering 
St. Michael. The moment was too good to 
be hurried, even if Tom could have quieted 
his voice to speak at once. 

But now the sudden banelne of a door 



Il6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

made them both start ; and stately, rather 
heavy steps were heard Inexorably advanc- 
ing. Lilith jumped up and busied herself 
with loose sheets of music at the piano, and 
in sailed the Lady Caroline Vane. 

She had not the faintest suspicion of what 
had been going on ; certainly not : but she 
thought the young man wore a singularly 
fatuous expression, and she reproved him 
for not assisting Miss Turold to recover her 
wind - tossed songs and sonatas. Lilith 
thought his St. Michael glory must inevi- 
tably betray him to her relative If she did 
not sret him out of the room at once. 

o 

Nervously and hastily she sent him for 
Bougalnvillia from the balcony ; and once 
he was safely disposed of, she fled away 
herself, ostensibly to change her frock for 
dinner. The tender moment was interrupted 
and ended and hopelessly spoiled, even as 
*' the tyrannous breathing of the north shakes 
all the buds from growing." 

Tom fought the khamseen valiantly in 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. II7 

the garden, and procured a scarlet hibiscus 
flower from the farthest corner. It was 
wind-blown and sand-swept, but Lilith wore 
it in her hair at dinner ; and all through 
that tiresome meal Tom's eyes glowed with 
the triumphant love-light, and whenever he 
looked at the torn red blossom of his pluck- 
ing, read in it a message of her love. 

The moment dinner was over Lilith fled 
away to solitude ; and Tom also went to his 
own room and knelt by the table, his head 
buried in his arms, and all wild whirling 
exultation of ecstasy surging In his heart. 

^' Oh love ! my love ! " he murmured half 
aloud, and shook with happiness ; and on 
the swallow wings of joy he was off and 
away into the dim future, building airy castle 
after castle there, always with Lilith by his 
side. Well, dreams are true while they last ; 
and do we not live in dreams ? 

But as for Lilith, she did no castle build- 
ing at all — only lay awake all night and 
cried lustily. 



Il8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Next mornino: the stern-wheeler arrived 
from Assiout, bringing letters. The return 
boat was expected in the evening, and mine 
host was inclined to turn everybody out, 
even the invalided Edward. All the com- 
pany were making plans, and Lilith could 
not escape from Lady Caroline's conversa- 
tion, though her lover was uncomfortably 
hovering about and waiting to claim her 
the moment she could escape from her 
chaperon. 

*' Mr. Vane, sir, will be obliged if you will 
speak to him for a minute," said a rnessenger. 

Tom shot a hasty glance at Lilith, and 
her eyes did apprehensively answer his this 
time. What in the world could Edward 
have to say to Tom Palmer 1 In their 
young self-importance, each supposed the 
matter most in their own minds must pre- 
dominate also in Edward's. 

Tom obeyed the summons. The invalid 
was sitting up in his bed, a cage over his 
broken leg. He looked worn by illness, and 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. II9 

was certainly handsomer than ever in his 
languor. Tom had not seen him since his 
accident, and now that he had himself been 
kissed by Lilith, he was quite disposed for 
friendliness. 

Edward did not speak at once ; his hands 
were behind his head, and his eyes fixed 
absently on the brilliant sky, which had not 
yet assumed its midday aspect of burnished 
steel. Then he shook himself impatiently 
and turned to Tom. 

"Your young lady philanthropist — is she 
not, by the way, a handsome girl whom I 
examined in Natural Science a year or two 
ago, at Newnham College ? — have you heard 
from her ? " 

** From Miss Kidson '^ No," said Tom. 

*' Ah [ lawyers get information quicker 
than philanthropists," said Edward, and 
handed him a letter. " As you are interested 
in my concerns, I may as well keep you up 
in them. Sarah, nee Williams, is dead." 

Tom blundered into all the wrong remarks 



I20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

of course ; and Edward was chiefly silent, 
sneering a little. 

'' Thanks for your criticisms and your 
congratulations, Mr. Palmer. If I might 
tender a little advice — I am your senior, 
I think } — I should say, next time when you 
meddle in another man's matters remember 
the result of your interference this time. If 
you had kept to your own business, I should 
not now have a broken leg and a probable 
limp for the future ; I should be engaged 
to Miss Turold, and I dare say I should be 
on excellent terms with yourself. Oh, never 
mind," he went on, " I dare say the leg will 
mend, and if I do limp I am not so vain as 
Lord Byron ; and I shall marry Miss Turold 
all the same. I don't pardon you ; that 
is all." 

" I don't think Miss Turold will marry 
you," said Tom, with the gentle c^uelty he 
would have used in slaying a cockroach. 

'' You will oblige me by not discussing 
Miss Turold," said Edward, quickly, drawing 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 121 

himself up. Then he laughed. '' Perhaps 
you think she will marry you, Mr. Palmer ? 

Harris tells me Some of these days 

I fear you'll be getting a lesson, my dear 
sir, just as I have had my lesson. Women 
don't forgive blunders in these matters. Cat 
must after kind, according to them, first and 
last too. Do you consider yourself cat or 
kind, Mr. Palmer ? I advise you to go and 
ask Miss Turold." 

Tom was bewildered and even abashed, 
for all this was said with much politeness 
of voice and dignified grace ; and then 
Edward held out his hand and apologized 
for the tedium of a sick man's acrid temper ; 
and he asked his visitor to convey a note 
from him to Miss Turold. The note was 
unfolded, and Tom saw the words, '* My 
wife is dead. Say one kind word to me, 
Lilith." 

" I did not ask you to read it, Mr. Palmer," 
said Edward. 

Tom flushed and tossed it back. 



122 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



"Do your business yourself," he said 
roughly. 

Edward laughed, sealed the note, and gave 
it to him again. *' One meddler is bad 
enough," he said, ''but I prefer it to half 
a dozen." 

It gave Tom a •mmivais quart (TheMre 
afterwards to reflect that before he had 
further speech with Lilith, she had received 
this communication from her cousin, and had 
answered it ; how, her lover knew not. 

He did not get hold of her himself till 
the afternoon. Lilith seemed to be avoid- 
ing him ; shyness, Tom supposed. But his 
elation was somehow dwindling. Why would 
she not look at him ? Why when she spoke 
to him was it petulantly '^. Why, above all, 
was she so pale and trouble-eyed to-day ? 

" If you must, Mr. Palmer," said the girl, 
*' well, you will find me in the summer-house, 
if you aren't afraid of the heat. But what 
is the good ? We finished all we had to 
say yesterday." 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. 1 23 

*' Not quite, I think, Lilith" said Tom, 
smiling ; and she turned away. 

At the hour of siesta he followed her to 
the garden summer-house, which certainly 
felt uncommonly like an oven. 

''May I ask, Mr. Palmer," said Lilith, 
pinching her fingers nervously, and speaking 
v/Ith haste and some little defiance, ''why 
you have taken up the idea that you may 
call me by my Christian name ? I don't 
wish it. I nevc7' gave you leave." 

" Lilith ! " exclaimed Tom, in sheer as- 
tonishment. "Have I vexed you?" he asked 
humbly ; and she tapped her foot im- 
patiently and said nothing. Tom racked 
his brains to think what he could have done. 
" Is it because, after what happened yester- 
day, I have not yet Darling! don't be 

angry with me ! I would not offend you 
for all the world. And surely you knew 
the words were on my lips." 

" What words ? I don't want you to say 
any words ! " said Lilith, faintly. 



124 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

'' Let me say them now. I love you, 
Lilith. I want you for my " 

'' Oh, you mustn't say such things to me ! " 
cried the girl, starting up. "Take your 
hands away. You mustn't touch me. You 
^now I don't wish this ! " 

Tom stepped back, and there was a long 
silence. Lilith kept her eyes obstinately 
closed and her head averted, but was terribly 
conscious of the young man's steady gaze. 
At last she turned suddenly and met his 
look. 

"Don't you ^mderstand?'' she said. "I 
am sorry you have had such an absurd 
notion. I couldn't possibly, Mr. Palmer. 
Let me go in now, please, and don't say 
any more." 

" No," said Tom, quietly ; *' your answer 
seems plain, but I don't understand. 
Why " 

" I am not bound to give you any reason." 

'' You kissed me yesterday," said Tom, 
in his low, musical voice, which set all her 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. I 25 

heartstrino^s vibratino:. '' Doesn't that 2:ive 
me a right to ask a reason ? " 

'' Oh, I can't marry you. How could I 
possibly? Don't you see it yourself? I 
shouldn't be allowed. I shouldn't like it. 
Are you stupid to ask for a reason ? You 
are not — not one of us, Mr. Palmer. Don't 
you see ? You must see." 

" Yes, I see," said Tom, gently, turning 

pale however. '' But if you loved me " 

he began, slowly. 

"You have no rio^ht to sus^Q^est such a 
thing !" cried LiHth. 

** You do not love me ? Why did you kiss 
me, then ? " cried Tom, hurt and astonished. 

" I wish I had done nothinor of the kind. 
It was ridiculous. I didn't think what I was 
doing. I meant nothing at all." 

"Meant nothing? Oh, Lilith, do not say 
it ! Can it be possible that you meant 
nothing ? " 

''No, I meant nothing. You shouldn't 
presume in this way on a trifle. Let me 



126 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

go, Mr. Palmer. I am sorry our pleasant 
acquaintance has ended in this disagreeable 
way. I did not think you would be so 
foolish. Good-bye. We can be friends 
still, I hope ? Ah, well," said Lilith, taking 
back her hand which she had offered and 
trying to appear offended, '* I wonder you 
don't say something, Mr. Palmer. I wonder 
you don't say you are sorry for having dis- 
tressed me like this." 

" A pleasant acquaintance ! " echoed Tom, 
bitterly. '' Is that what you called me ? 
And you kissed me, and meant notJiingf 

Lilith passed on with all the dignity she 
could muster, hoping she was making him 
understand he was rude. But there was a 
great lump in her throat all the same, for 
she remembered the radiant happiness in his 
face yesterday w^hen she had thought him 
a triumphant and glorious St. Michael. 

Tom and the rest of the Important Party 
left Luxor that evening at seven o'clock, 
and Lilith was very gay and talkative at the 



THE IMPORTANT PARTY. I 27 

leave-taking, embracing Mrs. Howe and 
giving Lady Kidson one of her sketches. 

" That beggar, Tom, has your portrait, 
Miss Turold," said Howe. '' I'd have it 
from him, if I were you. He'll be sell- 
ing it." 

"■ Oh," said Lilith, merrily, '' the only 
punishment one can inflict on photographers 
is to make them keep their pictures. Good- 
bye ! good-bye ! You have all been most 
kind to us. We shall be very dull without 
you. Good-bye, and I hope you'll enjoy 
your yachting." 

And as the stern wheeler scuttled noisily 
away, Tom saw her standing in the garden 
under the hibiscus tree, the evenine lieht 
on her white dress and on the slender hand 
which she was waving, not at him at all, but 
at Louisa Howe. She had kissed him ; but 
he had only been her pleasant acquaintance 
and she had meant nothing. He had been 
cheated ; he had squandered his first kiss. 

Then the girl went to her room, and half 



128 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



an hour later Lady Caroline's maid found 
her lying on the floor in a dead faint. And 
when she came to, she called wildly for her 
mother, her own dear dead mother ; and 
cried, and made the maid promise that she 
would never, never tell Lady Caroline, what- 
ever happened, or whatever she was asked 
by any one. 




PART III. 

REMORSE. 

CHAPTER I. 

T was durine Miss Turold's absence 
that the Palmers moved into their 
fine new house at Silcote Dene. Maple's 
vans stood outside the door for a week, and 
the servants reported that everything in the 
mansion was new. They were not quite 
correct, for Mrs. Palmer had a little glory- 
hole, in which she sat much more than in 
her smart drawing-room ; and here was the 
chintz-covered sofa her Jack had given her 
twenty years ago, and the little book-case 
with the shabby volumes of her girlhood, 
and all Tom's prizes, and the huge, hideous 

VOL. I. 9 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



armchair in which her husband had long 
sat contentedly in the evenings, smiling at 
her when his day's work was done. But 
when the Palmers appeared in church the 
little dowdy glory-hole was unsuspected ; for 
they arrived in a brand new carriage with 
a pair of young bay horses, driven by a very 
magnificent coachman. And Mrs. Palmer 
wore a stiff silk dress, which rustled in a 
manner most distressing to the wearer ; and 
a bonnet, not at all ugly, but decidedly im- 
posing, from the best milliner in Bond Street 
'' I hope I'm dressed to my position now," 
she thought, "■ and it's comfortable, going to 
the best shops ; but I must say if it wasn't 
for the fashion I'd never have had a gown 
made so for a woman of my figure." 

When the Palmers had been in church for 
four successive Sundays and Gilbert had 
presumably had time to look at them well, 
Mr. Turold one morning summoned his son. 
Of course Mr. Gilbert visited his father 
every day to inquire after his health and 



REMORSE. T 3 1 

to receive his commands ; this extra inter- 
view portended importance. 

'* I wish," said Mr. Turold, ''to be in- 
formed about these shopkeepers whom you 
have located on my property." 

*'They are in residence," repHed the son, 
wincing; "an. overdressed elderly couple. 
I hear rumours of a son. They are rich, 
I suppose, and seem liberal. Trevylyan 
has been given fifty pounds already for the 
steeple, and another fifty pounds for the 
parish charities." 

Mr. Turold Q^runted. 

"We must all turn them to account, of 
course. No one has spoken to them, I 
suppose ? " 

*' I fear the wise old society distinctions 
get a little forgotten nowadays. They 
brought an introduction — however they got 
it — to the Venners. I was surprised to 
learn that the old Miss Temples had called, 
and Lady Mount Jocelyn " 

'* Mammon worship. Or is it considered, 



132 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



Gilbert, that you have introduced them ? 
Yoti don't intend to make their acquaintance, 
I hope ? " 

'' I shall find it confoundedly difficult to 
avoid some acquaintance. Trevylyan has 
put the man on the parish council. Pro- 
bably he'll be churchwarden next year, and 
he's to stand for the Local Board. That 
firebrand Kidson is an ally of his, of 
course." 

** You will not permit my granddaughter 
to make acquaintance with the family ? " 
interrupted Mr. Turold. 

'' It is impossible to be too particular 
about Lilith," assented Gilbert. 

"Well, well, there are conveniences in 
having a rich man in the neighbourhood. 
Keep him out of my sight, that's all. 
When's your girl coming home ? " he went 
on in a different tone; ''and are matters 
advanced between her and Vane ? " 

The son, relieved of the Palmer topic yet 
not taking kindly to the new one, answered 



REMORSE. 133 



with show of indifference that he beHeved 
not, that Lihth seemed a Httle vexed with 
her cousin for the moment, and that the 
matter could afford to wait, the child being 
young. 

"That's all rubbish!" said the grandfather. 
" In my day the girls of importance were 
married off at fifteen. And I don't trust 
you about the chit, Gilbert. You'll have 
her falling in love next, and twisting you 
round her hnger. I will have no disputes 
about my heiress's marriage. Vane is your 
own choice — I think him a prig, — so for 
goodness' sake get the matter settled and 
have done with it." 

*' Very well, sir ; if Edward is willing." 

*' WhatV 

"■ I say the matter must be approached 
delicately. Edward must be sounded. / 
cannot make proposals." 

'' Lilith can make proposals," said Mr. 
Turold, serenely. " It is the proper way 
for a young woman in her position. You 



134 I^IiE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

don't expect a little whlppersnapper like 
Vane to dare to make proposals to my 
granddaughter ? " 

" Really, sir," said Gilbert, "■ you mistake. 
Edward Vane will consider himself quite a 
match for Lilith. He has a position of his 
own, and he is our nearest relation. He 
would be very much astonished indeed, if 
Lilith's family were to make the proposals." 

*' Permit me to differ from you entirely," 
said the old man, angrily. Then his cough 
made him wheeze and sputter in a manner 
trying to both their tempers. " Now listen 
to me," he said, rapping angrily on the table, 
when Gilbert, to quiet his nerves under 
the hawkings and spittings, had taken up a 
pamphlet. "I'll look out myself for a 
consort for your daughter. The day has 
not yet come in which I'm to have no voice 
in the management of the family." 

''Sir," said Gilbert, boldly, ''I am aware 
of your rights, and I respect them ; but I 
can sanction no marriage for my child that 



REMORSE, 135 

is disagreeable to her or disagreeable to 
me." 

*'Then," said the old gentleman, ''it only 
remains to be seen whether the more power- 
ful party is you or I." 

" In a question of that kind," said Mr. 
Gilbert, with dignity, " I have little doubt 
that my daughter would lend her support to 
me." 

"■ And what is the weight of her support ? " 
said Mr. Turold with contehipt. 

*' Enough surely to turn the scale," urged 
the son. 

Gilbert came away from this interview, 
his brow knitted under a ei*eat weiofht of 
thought. It was impossible to help wishing 
the old man would die. Their intercourse 
had never been affectionate, and at fifty one 
tires of expecting promotion. Moreover, 
the son's position was essentially ridiculous. 
He did all the work, had most of the glory, 
and all the opprobrium ; so much so that it 
required effort from him to remember the 



136 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

old man upstairs, and reference to him and 
his authority always made other people 
smile. And yet this invisible old man now 
and then knocked his son publicly down, 
and left him to explain his fall as best he 
might, and often lamely enough. This 
matter of Lilith was particularly annoying, 
as she was the one possession about 
which Gilbert had really had carte blanche. 
He intended her to marry Edward Vane ; 
but he would have liked to defer the wed- 
ding for a good three years, and he did not 
admire his father's fuss for a great-grandson. 
And now a fear shot through him that the 
despot might require him next to take a 
second spouse himself, though the grass was 
hardly green on his beloved Evelyn's grave, 
and though he was too proud of his pretty 
Lilith to suppose any pleasure in a baby 
son. 

*' I really wish he may soon " thought 

Gilbert, sighing impatiently, as he went into 
the library. 



REMORSE. 137 



Goaded by these reflections, the gentle- 
man was in no very good humour when a 
visitor was ushered in to him; and what a 
lecture did Yates afterwards receive for 
bringing in that visitor simultaneously with 
his card ! In justice to Yates it must be 
explained that this was the visitor's fault, 
not his. It was Mr. Palmer. 

I should be sorry to describe Mr. Turold's 
stiffness. Honest Jack Palmer, however, a 
man |who never saw ill in any one, did not 
notice it. No chair being offered, he took 
one himself, though his host remained stand- 
ing. He put his hat (his best chimney-pot) 
on the floor in front of him, and sat rather 
forward with both his hands leaning on his 
baggy umbrella, and a smile of perfect good 
nature and content on his features. 

" I've been wanting to speak to you on a 
little matter of business for a week or two," 
said Mr. Palmer, ''but I thought maybe 
you'd be coming to call, like our other neigh- 
bours, so I put it off. But it's the ladies who 



138 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



do the calling; and I wasn't aware till 
yesterday that you had lost your good lady, 
sir ; and very sorry I was to hear it, I'm 
sure. So I saw then there was no eood 
waiting longer, and I've just come straight 
off myself." 

" Matters of business are best put in writ- 
ing," said Mr. Turold ; "and you may as 
well explain to Mrs. Palmer that, under my 
daughter's circumstances, I choose her 
visiting-list to be a very small one." 

Mr. Palmer smiled, gracious and un- 
offended. 

'* You have a very pretty view out of your 
windows, sir," he said. " My word ! What 
a sight you do get of our 'ouse, to be sure. 
Just as good a view as we have of yours. 
That's what it is." 

'' I should say, Mr. Palmer, that at present 
you have decidedly the advantage in the 
matter of the view," replied Mr. Turold. 

*' It's very good of you to say so, I'm 
sure," said Mr. Palmer, delio^hted. 



REMORSE. 139 



Then he looked round the room, and 
perused the portraits, his eyes lingering 
thoughtfully on one pretty picture of a 
family group. 

*' I take it, sir, that is yourself and your 
brothers ? " he said, pointing to it. 

" You are right, Mr. Palmer." 

Confused by the strong likeness among 
the young men, Mr. Palmer yet picked out 
Stephen ; and he sighed, debating if he 
ought not to say something about him. For 
greatly disturbed in his mind had Mr. 
Palmer been ever since coming to Silcote 
Dene ; it had been one thing to call Tom 
his own child while the Turolds were mere 
faraway, semi-mythical personages ; it was 
another affair now that they were his nearest 
neighbours. But Mr. Palmer, simple by 
creed and at once simple and romantic by 
nature, was a firm believer in the oruidinof 
hand of Providence. Providence had, of 
course, in the first instance brought him the 
boy. Providence had led Tom to fancy 



HO THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



Silcote Dene and to require its purchase, 
notwithstanding his father's dismay when 
he learned the name of its owner. Provi- 
dence had removed all obstacles to the 
purchase, and had caused Mr. Palmer to 
build his house close by the home of Tom's 
relations. And now Providence would show 
the exact moment for revealing the secret of 
the boy's birth ; that is, if Providence 
intended the thing to be revealed at all, 
which was by no means certain. Before 
speaking next, Mr. Palmer put up a prayer 
for divine guidance. 

''Ah, well," he said, ''there is certainly 
among 'em a look of Tom." 

" I beg your pardon," said Gilbert 
Turold. 

" I was thinking sir," said Mr. Palmer, 
impressively, still pointing to the picture 
with his thumb, "that the portrait I have 
of my boy Tom might, but for the change 
of get up and that, be a likeness of one of 
those young gentlemen there. I'd be glad 



REMORSE. 141 



if you'd come and see Tom's picture, 
sir." 

Mr. Turold could discover no interest in 
these remarks. He begged to be informed 
of the business-matter which had brought 
his visitor ; and then he despatched it so 
quickly that Jack Palmer had no excuse for 
lingering longer. Clearly Providence meant 
him to hold his tontrue about Tom for to- 
day. Nevertheless, as he was going out 
he again pointed with his thumb to the 
picture. 

" Those lads are your brothers, sir ? " 

''Yes, yes, of course," said Gilbert. 

'' And the boy on the left is the youngest.'^" 
he went on, indicating Stephen. 

** Yes, yes, yes," said Mr. Turold, bowing 
him out, and not thinking great exactitude 
necessary. 

Good Mr. Palmer went away under the 
impression that the man he had been speak- 
ing to_ was the obviously oldest brother 
of the group. The youths had all been 



142 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

very much alike, except the dehcate boyish- 
looking Stephen. Mr. Palmer went away, 
on the whole well satisfied, and with re- 
newed confidence in Providence. 




CHAPTER II. 

j|EXT came the day of Llllth's return. 
Her father was at the Molesworthy 
station to meet her, and they drove home 
together in LiHth's own pony-carriage. It 
was an early season ; already the hedges 
were white with hawthorn, and the scent of 
lilac came from the cottage gardens. 

'' Oh dear ! " sighed Lilith, " it is very nice 
to be home again ! " 

Mr. Turold saw, to his surprise, that there 
were tears in his child's blue eyes. 

''You are tired with your journey, my 
love ? But you have enjoyed yourself ? 
And how is poor Edward ? " he asked 
cautiously. 

"Oh, he's well, but he limps still. It 



144 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

makes him look so stupid," said Lilith. '' It 
was very stupid of him to fall in that 
manner ! I don't pity him in the least ! '' 
That did not sound very lover-like. 

Arrived at home, they were no sooner in 
the large wainscoted hall, where bloodhounds 
were sleeping before the hearth as at any 
time in the course of the last four centuries, 
than Mr. Turold gathered his daughter in 
his arms and kissed her fondly again and 
again. 

'' My dear little girl ! " he said, ''welcome 
home, Lilith. Welcome home." 

But Lilith could do nothing but cry as she 
returned his embrace, much to her father's 
distress. 

" It's — this cominof home without dear 
mother," sobbed Lilith, laying her head on 
his shoulder. It seemed to the girl that she 
was much older and sadder than when 
she had gone away. And she fancied she 
could have explained why to her mother : a 
papa and a grandpapa were quite impossible 



REMORSE. 145 



confidants. And how in the world was she 
to manaee her existence when Tom Palmer 
was at Silcote Dene, and any day she might 
run up against him ? 

After dinner, seeing she had something on 
her mind, Mr. Turold got her into the 
library ; and Lilith perched on a table before 
him and tried to be merry, failing con- 
spicuously. He began to question her. 

''You and Edward are good friends, 
Lilith ? You have not quarrelled with 
Edward, my dear ? Come now, Lilith, 
speak out. Edward is coming here to- 
morrow, and I wish " 

'' I do think," interrupted the girl, '' I 
might have a respite from Edward for a 
little while ! " 

" My dear ? Edward is coming home to- 
morrow," resumed Mr. Turold, ''and your 

grandfather wishes — in short I intend 

But first, my dear child, I had wished to 
have a little confidential talk with you." 

Lilith sprang off her table and walked up 

VOL. I. 10 



14^ THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

and down the room with her hands locked. 
Her father, longing for his dead wife's assist- 
ance, proceeded with some emotion. 

" Your grandfather has been talking of 
your marriage, Lilith. You cannot believe, 
my love, how anxious I am that our choice 
should be agreeable to you. Now, let us 

try to speak frankly " 

" Papa," interrupted Lilith, '' never mind 
that now. You were referring to Edward. 
I want to tell you something. Did you 
know, papa, that Edward Vane is married ? " 
"Edward Vane? Married? Nonsense!" 
exclaimed Mr. Turold, brought to a full 
stop. 

*' It is not nonsense. He told me him- 
self. To some horrid low woman he is 
ashamed of, and ought never even to have 
spoken to. He has been married ever since 
we have known him, papa. Don't you see, 
now," cried Lilith, '' how insulting to me it 
is, the way you were talking just now ? " 
'' But, my dear, I cannot understand. I 



REMORSE. 147 

think you are making some mistake. Repeat 
to me precisely what Edward said." 

" I am sure I shall not, papa, for Edward's 
sake. But it is quite true. The woman is 
dead now," she added dryly. 

" Oh, come, that makes a great difference," 
cried Mr. Turold. 

" Does it ? " said Lilith. 

Her father reflected. 

'' I can't imagine what possessed him to tell 
you, my dear," he said presently. '' Listen, 
Lilith, I will inquire into this matter, but I 
feel convinced you have altogether misunder- 
stood. It is very unlikely he was married 
to the woman. That was a euphemism for 
you, my love." 

" Papa ! " said Lilith. 

Mr. Turold shrugged his shoulders. 

" He should not have spoken of it to you, 
my dear. Let it be now. It is my affair, 
not yours." 

'' It is my affair in this way, papa," said 
Lilith, planting herself before him ; '' you 



148 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



mustn't suppose I could ever again dream 
of marrying Edward. I couldn't, papa, not 
to please grandpapa, or you, or any one. 
I have been very much shocked, and very 
much hurt and offended ; and if I can manage 
to be tolerably friendly with Edward on the 
outside, that is all I can do. And indeed, 
papa " — here her voice began to shake 
a little — '' I couldn't marry anybody — any- 
body at all, unless I was sure he and I loved 
each other." 

" My dear child, I thought I had explained 
that in your position " 

*' Yes, papa, I know all that. I remember 
what you said. But I didn't know what I 
was talking about then. I am older now, 
and I understand things better. I couldn't 

marry Edward, because " Here she 

broke down, and no pinching of her fingers 
would keep the tears back. ''And I don't 
want to marry any one else either, papa," 
she sobbed, '* and I hope you won't be cruel 
to me ! " 



REMORSE. 1 49 



Mr. Turold was so perplexed that after 
Lillth had left him he sat for a long time 
motionless and staring at the floor, to the 
great concern of Tamburlaine, his favourite 
hound, who thought he had gone silly. If 
only his wife were here to help him ! How 
could a man — a middle-aged, unromantic 
papa — prepared to make decent allowance for 
a young man's customs, understand the view 
a sweet female creature of eighteen, and 
reared in a glass house, would take of such 
things '^. And what was he to do next ? 
Had Edward (such a desirable suitor) done 
anything unworthy of Lilith, or had he not '^. 
If he had, why, then, of course, he must be 
dismissed ; and wasn't that a direct playing 
into the hands of the unfeeling old despot 
upstairs, who might propose a husband with 
a cork leg or a stutter, impediments much 
less manageable than this one of Edward's ? 
And what was the standard of unworthiness 
in these matters ? Mrs. Turold would have 
known, not so the widower. And, supposing 



150 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

he did arrive at some conclusion on this 
point, how was he to ensure Lihth's coming 
to it too ? Mr. Turold decided there was 
nothing for It but to consult Edward Vane 
himself; and he rode over to Molesworthy 
early next day to visit his kinsman, the 
soundness of whose judgment had always 
impressed him. 

He was cordially received; for Edward, 
though he a little despised Gilbert Turold's 
Intellect, liked him and always gratefully 
remembered his own first reception at 
Turold Royal, and the affectionate family 
circle which had beckoned him to a place 
in Its midst. Could he but have accepted 
that offered place then and there, what a 
happy man he would by this time have 
been ! But his star had been ever an un- 
lucky one — let the vain regrets pass ! 

" Bless me ! my dear Edward, how ill 
you look ! " exclaimed Gilbert. '' What have 
you been about ? All the leg, eh ? Or a 
touch of tropical fever ? " 



REMORSE. 151 

'' Oh, it's not illness," said Edward ; '' Fm 
well enough in health." 

'*Just so. Just so. Lilith has told 
me " 

'' Lilith ! Ah, dear little Lilith ! " Edward 
turned away, sighed, and was silent for a 
moment. "' What has she told you, 
Gilbert ? " 

'* Well — she's a child, you know. She 
told me a most extraordinary story : a 
farrago of nonsense, I call it. Why did 
you mention the matter to a child like 
Lilith ? If it was necessary to speak at all, 
you should have spoken to me." 

Edward did not answer at once ; he was 
carefully arranging what he was going 
to say. 

'* I wish I had spoken to you ! Upon 
my honour I do ! " exclaimed Edward, 
suddenly ; *' but I never foresaw this com- 
plication. It never occurred to me that a 
young creature like Lilith could look upon 
me as a possible suitor." 



152 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Mr. Turold was amazed by such stupidity. 

'' Oh, my mother has told me since," 
continued Edward ; '' I see now what a bHnd 
fool I have been. Let me thank you, 
Gilbert, at once for your kind thought of 
me : would to Heaven I could have availed 
myself of it ! Gilbert, your project was 
impossible ; and its very impossibility, which 
I knew so well, blinded me to the fact 
that other persons might misconstrue my 
position. I saw no necessity to explain 
—good heavens ! — that my hand was not 
free." 

Mr. Turold sprang from his seat. 

" Good God ! Edward, you don't mean to 
tell me that you — good heavens \—you, a 

Turold, are actually I don't believe it ! 

You called it a marriage, not to offend 
Lilith's delicacy." 

" No," exclaimed Edward, bringing his 
hand down with force upon the table 
beside him, '' I had no cause to give her 
offence. It was a orenuine, an honourable 



REMORSE. 153 



marriage, Gilbert, which I could mention 
to Lilith without a blush." Mr. Turold felt 
snubbed, and kept silence. " Let me explain 
my marriage presently," said Edward ; '' I 
must speak of Lilith. You understand that 
I did not live with my wife ? that the 
thing was a failure, and I had not thought 
it necessary to acknowledge the mistake I 
had made " 

" Are there any children ? " interrupted 
Mr. Turold ; his mind had suddenly shot 
ahead, so that he foresaw himself in his 
grave, Lilith in her grave, Edward in his 
grave, and a low-born wretch, Edward's son, 
son of an unmentionable mother, sitting on 
his own throne at Turold Royal. To avert 
possibility of that unparalleled catastrophe, 
Gilbert felt he must at once himself take 
a young wife, and provide heirs other than 
this frail girl Lilith. 

'' No, no, there are no children," replied 
Edward, vexed by these interruptions ; '' do, 
for Heaven's sake, hear me out, Gilbert. I 



154 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

confessed the truth, the moment I saw mis- 
constructions arising. To put it plainly, I 
saw that Lilith was building fancies on the 
supposition that I was a bachelor." 

" Pooh ! You don't want to persuade 
me the girl was in love with you," said 
Gilbert, speaking weakly however, and 
remembering how he had almost bidden 
Lilith to fall in love with her cousin. 

" Naturally she will not admit it now," 
said Edward ; '' but I will not disclaim what, 
at all costs, I must consider an honour. I 
suddenly perceived, and unmistakably, that 
your sweet daughter was not indifferent to 
me. At the same moment I knew that I 
— good God ! — that I loved her, as I had 
not believed it possible for me to love any 
woman. Judge me leniently, Gilbert ; as 
soon as I recognized the truth I resolved on 
instant flight." 

"You should have come away without 
explanation." 

" Hardly. My conscience would not allow 



REMORSE. 155 

me to leave Lillth in the smallest doubt. 
And you cannot get off from Luxor at a 
moment's notice. We had to remain to- 
gether for several days. No ; as a safe- 
guard, a precaution, I judged it my duty to 
tell her all. I fear she discovered that I 
loved her. She may not be aware of it, 
Gilbert, but she as plainly acknowledged 
that she loved me." Edward, very pale and 
genuinely moved, was limping about the room 
as he spoke, his hands clenched. 

Gilbert's compassion was stirred ; the more 
so, that Edward had a talent for over-per- 
suadinor the mind of his less astute kinsman 
in whatever respect he would. Mr. Turold 
considered whether Lilith had said anything 
to confirm this view taken by Edward of her 
sentiments. Yes : she had said she would 
not marry '' any one else." In that phrase 
she had let the cat out of the bag. She was 
offended, and justly, with her cousin ; but, 
she loved him. It was only out of pride 
that she was concealine her affection. Poor 



156 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

little love-crossed maiden ! She zvould not 
7na7^ry miy 07te else ! 

"You know the history of my accident," 
continued Edward ; "I was chained to Luxor 
by a broken leg. And then I learned the 
full irony of my fate. The very next post 
brought me news : my unhappy wife was 
dead. Gilbert, I ant free, now ; but I fear I 
have lost my every chance with Lilith." He 
pressed his hand to his brow and turned 
away. 

'' The woman is dead," repeated Mr. 
Turold, meditatively, ''and there are no 
children ; you are quite sure there are no 
children ? I think, Edward, in a little while 
— providing, of course, there is no scandal, 
nothing notorious — you may come forward, 
after all." He hesitated. '' Of course your 
offence was shocking," he said ; '' I could not 
have believed you capable of so forgetting 
the duty you owed society and your family ; 
but still, under the circumstances, if Lilith's 
affections are engaged And, in fact. 



REMORSE. 157 



there are not many men we could allow 
her to marry," he ended, abruptly. 

All this was precisely what Edw^ard Vane 
had wished him to say. The young man 
was well satisfied with his morning's w^ork ; 
and after this he absented himself for a time 
from Lilith's presence, leaving it to Gilbert 
to pave the way for his reappearance. He 
returned to Cambridge, and became again, 
for a time, the recluse, the student, the exotic 
Fellow. 

And while at Cambridge, he fell in with 
Grace Kidson, who had come up for a dinner 
at her college. Edward had already noticed 
Miss Kidson's beauty when he had con- 
ducted the viva voce examination, at w^hich 
she had taken such honours ; since then his 
curiosity had been piqued. He now culti- 
vated her acquaintance. After a time she 
seemed to him one of the most curious 
young women he had yet come across, and 
she thought him the cleverest man of her 
acquaintance. By his advice, Grace prose-. 



158 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

secuted her scientific studies, remaining for 
a while in the University town, and working 
at astronomy and chemistry with a tutor. 

'' I dare say we shall sometimes meet at 
Moles worthy," said Edward, carelessly. '' If 
you will allow me, I will take an occasional 
look at your work. Nature intended me for 
a professor, not for a country gentleman. At 
least let me retain one pupil." 

There was not the faintest hint of gallantry 
in his tone. Mr. Vane talked to Grace as 
if she were sixty. This pleased her, for she 
was an ardent preacher of the superiority of 
spinsters, and It never occurred to her that 
had she really been elderly and plain, Mr. 
Edward Vane would probably never have 
talked to her at all. 

I dare say the duchess who kissed the 
butcher thought herself a clever-spoken 
politician ; neither she nor Grace had taken 
sufficiently to heart Mazzini's lesson, that 
" in the Mixing-up of things lies the great 
Bad." 




CHAPTER III. 

fralR. PALMER had built his house on 
i^^ the plot of ground which his son had 
chosen, and it was no secret that he meant 
everything for his boy a great deal more 
than for himself. Now the house was built 
and ready and delightful ; but alas ! Tom 
seemed to have lost all interest in it and 
would not settle down. 

True he came for an afternoon the 
moment he returned from his yachting ; 
looked at everything and said '' very nice " 
to everything ; but his manner was absent 
and his voice was sad, and the good old 
folk were surprised and disappointed. 

" These are your own rooms, Tom," said 
Mrs. Palmer, " the ones you chose, you 



l6o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

know — with the view you're fond of from the 
windows." 

" Yes," said Tom, glancing through the 
casement for an instant only. 

It was the same season as when he had 
first seen that view and it was the same hour 
of the day ; but this was a stormy evening, 
and heavy clouds hung over the Court, its. 
frowning battlements standing up black 
against the angry red of the horizon. The 
nightingales were not singing ; the little 
river was invisible, and no white figure stood 
in the terraced garden. Tom wished him- 
self back in Egypt where black clouds are 
not, nor monotonous grass lands and heavy 
woods drenched in rain ; he had a vision 
of golden sand, and two delicate, transparent, 
gold-green palm trees with bending stems 
against a shell-pink sunset sky ; and he felt 
— so keen was his memory — a girl's light 
hand touching his to point out the crested 
hoopoe flitting at his feet. Mentally he 
shook the lis^ht touch off; and then the 



REMORSE. l6l 



vision faded and he saw his mother waiting 
patiently beside him till he should admire 
something. 

" It's very nice, all of it," said Tom, doing 
his best, but his words sounded perfunctory 
and dull even to himself. 

** There's something gone wrong with him, 
Polly," commented Mr. Palmer. 

*' If it's sunstroke, Jack," said Mrs. Palmer, 
anxiously, *' they do say it takes six years to 
clear it out of the system." 

'' I doubt if it's sunstroke," said her 
husband. 

Tom came to Silcote Dene again and 
again of course, and stayed a night now and 
then ; but settle down he would not, and he 
spoke little and mooned about disconsolately, 
taking no interest in anything. However, 
he had begun to work feverishly hard in his 
father's business, and he did occasionally 
make a few remarks about that. 

'* I've taken up a notion," he said one 
evening after dinner, when for ten minutes 

VOL. I. II 



1 62 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

he had cracked walnuts in sullen silence, 
Mr. Palmer studying his looks with affec- 
tionate solicitude and half inclined to cate- 
chize him as to what was the matter ; 
** I've taken up a notion, dad, that Jim Howe 
is getting too important.'* 

" I have every confidence in Jim," said 
Mr. Palmer, " and our success is mainly 
owing to him. It*s human nature when 
you've got everything your own way to be 
a little " 

*' Has he got everything his own way ? " 

*' Ye — es," said Mr. Palmer, half apologeti- 
cally. 

Tom drew a little nearer, put his elbows 
on the table and looked at his father 
attentively. Mr. Palmer was glad to see 
some animation about him at last. 

*' Do you mean that you are leaving things 
more to Jim than you used ? " 

'' I have every confidence in Jim," repeated 
Mr. Palmer ; " he has the business faculties 
that I haven't. He's the practical man ; I'm 



REMORSE. 163 



only the theoretical. The fact is, Tom, I'm 
thinking of changes. If the public ain't tired 
of Prepared Paraffin, I am. It's not perfect. 
Kidson's oil with all its defects gives more 
light. It's equal to gas, and mine just isn't ; 
and I'm dissatisfied." 

'' You've been experimenting again ? " said 
Tom, with a smile, for Mr. Palmer was 
always ready to joke about his own experi- 
ments. However, he made no jokes to-night. 

" Yes. I've got an idea, impracticable as 
yet, which I mean to make something of. I 
wish you were more of a chemist, Tom. It 
would be a deal more use than your tunes on 
the planner." 

'* I met a man the other day," said Tom, 
who never talked music with his father, *' a 
fellow called Vane ; he's a first-rate chemist, 
a retired professor. His pet iniquity, he 
calls chemistry." 

"Why?" asked Mr. Palmer, absently, 
conning a paper with hieroglyphics scrawled 
over it, which he had drawn from his pocket. 



1 64 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Oh, he's a dilettante — one of your swells 
on whom brains are thrown away, because 
they think it infra dig. to use them. I hate 
that style of chap. I couldn't talk patiently 
to him myself; but Kidson and Howe tried 
to pick his brains. I could see that." 

" Kidson ?" asked Mr. Palmer, waking up 
and putting the hieroglyphics away. "Ah, 
if I get my flame up to KIdson's Combined 
Kerosine, with the conveniences of Prepared 
Paraffin, it'll take all the wind out of his 
sails. Joe and I are too old chums to ruin 
each other. We settled long ago that sooner 
than do that, either of us, we'd run in double 
harness — amalgamate. You mustn't mind, 
Tom, if it comes to that some day." 

-Why should I mind ?" said Tom. '^ We 
are rich enough." He rose and stretched 
himself, then moved about the room, touching 
one thing after another listlessly. 

Mr. Palmer felt his anxiety reviving. 

" It wouldn't do to chuck this oil business, 
I suppose ? " said the son, presently. 



REMORSE, 1 6=; 



"Tom, what's gone wrong with you, my 
lad ? You ain't grown dissatisfied with your 
station, Tom?" questioned Mr. Palmer, 
anxiously. 

Tom laughed. " Only for accidental 
reasons, dad." 

" Don't speak to me In parables, boy." 

*' I met a person the other day," said Tom, 
holding one of the cut glasses up to the 
light and examining It critically, '* belonging, 
I suppose, to what are called the upper 
classes, who told me, not at all in parables, 
' You are not one of us.' It set my back 
up for a moment," continued Tom; "but, 
thinking It over, I saw pretty clearly that 
the son of an advertising oilman Is not ' one 
of them.' She spoke naked truth." 

" She f " echoed Mr. Palmer, aghast. 

Tom laughed again. "Well, yes, she. 
I didn't mean to let out the pronoun, 
dad." 

" My dear, dear boy ! Tell me ! " said 
Mr. Palmer. 



1 66 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" There is extremely little to tell. I was 
taught, as Mr. Vane gracefully put it, that 
cat must after kind. She wasn't my kind, 
that's all." 

*' Who was it, Tom ? " 

'' No ; I can't tell you that, after repeating 
her words. Don't worry yourself, father. 
They don't rankle — much. They were true, 
and she only said them because, like an 
idiot, I had pressed her to." 

Mr. Palmer shivered. A grand lady. This 
was the thing that of all others he had 
dreaded for the son of his adoption. 

" My dear, dear boy ! But, Tom, it's non- 
sense — it's absurd ! You a7X a gentleman ; 
by education, Tom. You can talk Latin 
with the best of 'em. And there is no need 
for you to work for your living. You shall 
get into the Commons, my boy ; and, maybe, 
with your looks, and your fortune, and your 
cleverness, for you are clever, Tom — look 
at all the shelves of prizes you brought 
home — maybe, I say, they'll make you a 



REMORSE, 167 



lord some day, like many another who's got 
his fortune out of beer, or cotton, or such- 
like." 

"And why not oil?" said Tom. ''No, 
father, the Ethiopian can't change his skin ; 
at least, not in the eyes of that lady. I 
shan't try. To be your son is my best title 
to respect ; and, if I can't get her on that 
ground, I must just do without her." 

" Don't you want to be anything but my 
son, Tom ? " asked Mr. Palmer, more and 
more troubled. " And you've given up all 
hopes of her, then ? " 

Tom was silent for a minute. 

" I don't know that I've the smallest reason 
for hope," he said slowly ; " but, I suppose 
— yes, — I do relapse into it now and then. 
Never mind about it, dad," he went on, 
smiling as he saw the affectionate eyes 
perusing his dejection, " I shall be all right. 
Only I can't sit down quietly at home just 
now — in this neighbourhood." 

Poor Mr. Palmer's face fell ; but he did 



1 68 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

not remind his son that the house had 
been built in this neighbourhood entirely 
to gratify him. He took up quite a wrong 
impression : that the fair one lived in London, 
and that the boy was anxious to haunt her 
steps. And could this unknown lady possibly 
be as pretty as Grace Kidson on whom Mr. 
Palmer's paternal hopes had all been set ? 

After this Tom was little at home, but 
increasingly assiduous in his father s business, 
and something of a torment to Mr. Howe, 
the autocrat manager. 

Meantime Miss Turold'grew familiar with 
the appearance in church of Mr. and Mrs. 
Palmer. Why was the son never in their 
company ? Without asking direct questions 
of any one, Lilith learned that on one pretext 
or another a good many people had called 
at Silcote Dene. The old Misses Temple 
apologized for having done so, and made 
some excuse about a lapdog. Lady Mount 
Jocelyn found her reason in the Radical views 
of her deceased husband. Other people 



REMORSE. 169 

tried to ignore their condescension when 
they met the Turolds ; nevertheless, LiHth 
heard of their conduct, and began to think she 
was the one only person in the county who 
didn't know Mrs. Palmer. Some day she 
would certainly find herself in the same room 
with Mrs. Palmer ; or, worse still, with Tom. 
What would his humour be ? She could 
not guess. Anything seemed to her pos- 
sible for a man in his position. He 
might be still stupid and admiring, or he 
might be offended and haughty. He 
might be awed by her state ; shy and 
awkward ; hardly, blustering and obtrusive. 
The son of a paraffin man might be the 
sort of person to boast of a love adventure. 
With sickening terror Lilith reflected that 
her father might learn she had kissed the 
man ; or Tom might keep that secret and 
remind her privately that he was keeping 
it. A guilty mystery shared with this 
terrible man and concealed from her equals, 
seemed absolutely maddening to the timid 



170 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

and fanciful girl. She began to wish herself 
dead ; to hope that the Mermaid had gone 
to the bottom in the Bay of Biscay. The 
agony of apprehension was long drawn out, 
for week after week passed and Mr. Thomas 
Palmer never showed ; nor did Mr. Trevylyan, 
nor Lady Mount Jocelyn appear to have 
even heard of him. 

But there came at last a hot summer 
Sunday when Lilith, contrary to custom, 
went to the evening service in the parish 
church. Visitors were staying at Turold 
Royal — a pompous old lord, his elderly 
daughter, and a very inquisitive, sharp 
y^oung M.P., who fixed admiring glances on 
the Princess, and was disliked by her as 
well as by her father, both suspecting in 
him the grandfather's matrimonial candidate. 
Being all bored with each other, they hailed 
the notion of church, started too soon, 
walked too fast, and arrived too early. The 
young M.P. remarked on an empty pew with 
aggressively new cushions, new hassocks, 



REMORSE. I 7 1 

new prayer-books, and new scarlet hymn- 
books. 

" It's the new people's pew," said Gilbert 
Turold ; and the young man giggled. Lilith 
felt angry ; still she breathed a sigh of relief: 
for an hour and a half she was relieved from 
all duties as hostess. Presently, without 
looking round, she became conscious that 
the new people had come into their pew. 

The evening service at Turold Church 
was a little more pretentious than that of 
the morning. Flustered by the unusual 
crowd from the Court, the little choir boys 
sang their best. It was the 28th evening, 
and they got through the long psalm with 
the refrain not unsuccessfully ; then came 
the 137th Psalm, and the chant, after a chord 
or two, plunged into the minor. The boys 
were afraid of it, and the very few basses 
and tenors stopped singing altogether. Only 
the little chap \vho took the soprano solos 
and who was bursting with conceit, sang out 
lustily; the organist himself tried to start 



172 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

the bass, and a voice in the congregation 
took up the tenor. For the first few verses 
these three sang a trio : '' By the waters of 
Babylon we sat down and wept : when we 
remembered thee, O Zion. As for our 
harps we hanged them up : upon the trees 
that are therein. For they that led us away 
captive required of us a song : sing us one 
of the songs of Zion." 

Here the choir plucked up courage, and 
the three voices were accompanied. Still 
they predominated ; the little boy cried with 
ofusto, *' Down with it, down with it ! " and 
the tenor rang out, rich and pathetic, " O 
daughter of Zion, wasted with misery " 
— Lilith Turold's heart was beating to 
suffocation, for she knew that voice. As for 
Tom Palmer, his eyes were pretty steadily 
fixed on Miss Turold's white bonnet.; he 
had been saying to himself hard things of 
her, and half believing them for many weeks 
now. But he forgot all about them as he 
saw her ribbons and that bit of her cheek. 



REMORSE. 17 



and her slim fingers desperately clutching her 
prayer-book. He reconsidered his decision 
against living at home ; to come to church 
every Sunday, and to look at the back of 
Lilith Turold's bonnet seemed to him the 
only thing worth living for. 

The sermon to-night was to Miss Turold 
terribly tedious; still she dreaded its end, for 
that meant exit, and perhaps a face-to-face 
encounter with the enemy. When the bene- 
diction had been pronounced, and the little 
choir boys were hustling each other into the 
vestry, Lilith remained on her knees to let 
the Palmers get out first. But the old lord 
was impatient, and Mr. Turold considered 
it his prerogative to march down the aisle 
before any one else. He had always done 
so, till simple Mr. Palmer came and occasion- 
ally moved first by accident. The Turold 
party did not to-night overtake the oil 
merchant and his family within the edifice. 

The old couple were stepping down 
through the churchyard, with Tom following 



174 I^HE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

and thinking of Lilith. It seemed to him 
improper to stalk along thus in front of her, 
and he drew aside. Mr. Palmer, always 
respectful and humble, thought it a hint from 
his son to clear the way for the great folk. 
The path was narrow, and just here the 
wooden headstones edged it closely. Mr. 
Palmer hastily pulled his wife out of the 
way, and it ended in Tom, his father, and his 
mother, all standing singly on the grass, side 
by side, while the party from the Court 
swept by. Tom was waiting for Lilith's 
recognition, and a little vexed with his 
parents, who were awkward, though not 
really obsequious. 

But this absurd stoppage of the old couple 
confused Miss Turold hopelessly. What did 
it mean, unless that Tom had told, and that 
they were waiting to clasp her to their 
hearts ? Mr. Turold too was annoyed. 
'' Come on, my love," he said impatiently ; 
"we are blocking people's way." People! 
what a word ! And the young M.P., 



REMORSE. 175 



and the old lord, and the elderly young 
lady his daughter, were laughing — what at, 
Lilith did not know. The girl was a coward : 
the dread of consequences, the memory of 
that unhappy kiss, her father's hurry, her 
friends' mirth, Mr. Palmer's stupidity, and 
the sparkle of excitement in her lover's eye, 
were too much for her. She had prepared 
a bow ; but now she turned very pale, and 
passed on, looking straight before her, her 
hands clenched and her teeth set, and her 
head not bending in the very least. 

"■ Good heavens ! " ejaculated Tom, sound- 
lessly ; and the blood rushed over his face 
as if he had received a blow. 




CHAPTER IV. 

FTER this Lllith's remorse became 
agony. She had no sooner got past 
the Palmers than she recognized what a 
thing she had done ; and sought eagerly for 
place of repentance, but, like Esau, found it 
not. 

She cast one despairing glance after her 
lover ; he was getting into the carriage 
and she could not catch his attention. 
She tried to tell her father ; but he was 
describing to the old lord the intruders at 
Silcote Dene, and she could command no 
voice to interrupt. She pursued him before 
supper to the library, still with confession in 
her mind ; but he was talking heraldry to 
the young senator, and only interrupted 



REMORSE. 177 



himself to say to her, with his frequent 
falHbiHty on musical matters — 

" I wish some one would choke that young 
Otway. Did you hear him in the psalms, 
Lilith, bawling away just behind my ear ? " 

" Not Mr. Otway, papa," murmured Lilith, 
feeling that this preamble had rendered her 
task impossible. How could she explain an 
acquaintance with Tom and get him asked 
to luncheon, when her father mixed him up 
with Otway, the assistant schoolmaster, and 
she herself was conscious of having kissed 
him ? She was baulked, and confessed 
nothing. " But I shall not rest," she assured 
herself vehemently, '* till I have seen him and 
apologized — yes, apologized most humbly." 

Neitheron the morrow nor on any succeed- 
ing day did she see him. Sunday by Sunday, 
morning and evening, she went to church ; 
but he was not there. 

Lilith had never looked well since her 
return home, and now she began to be almost 
ill. She was pale, her eyes were large, her 

VOL. I. 12 



178 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

hands were thin. She caught cold, she had 
the toothache, the headache, the fingerache ; 
all symptoms perhaps of the heartache. Her 
grandfather grew impatient, her father 
anxious, and the servants talked nonsense 
about a decline. Then the doctor said she 
wanted a change, and Mr. Turold suggested 
Switzerland; but Lilith would none of it, 
and he contented himself collecting invita- 
tions for Scotland. Even these seemed to 
promise the pale child no pleasure ; she 
had taken a dislike to company, saying for 
instance that it was too far to go to Mrs. 
Victor Barnard's ball at Harleton. 

**Too far, my dear?" said Mr. Turold. 
" What are the horses for ? " 

" Oh, papa, don't make me go," said Lilith, 
wearily. 

Nevertheless next week, when the old 
Misses Temple gave a little dance and Mr. 
Turold was for declining, because the Misses 
Temple did not give nice dances and he had 
a notion his princess might meet the Palmers 



REMORSE. 1 79 



or people of that stamp from the Molesworthy 
Villas, the whimsical Lilith insisted upon 
attending ; and her indulgent father gave in, 
though he was sorely puzzled by her caprices. 

Lilith went to the dance under the winof 
of Mrs. Trevylyan ; and that lady noted the 
eagerness with which her charge surveyed 
everybody in the rooms, and her agitation 
when (just as her father had feared) Mr. and 
Mrs. Palmer were presently announced. 
Lilith sat up straight, a pink spot in the 
middle of each cheek and her eyes shining. 
But no, Tom was not there ; only the old 
couple arm-in-arm, in very good clothes, and 
with smiling faces going round the room, 
shaking hands with every single person they 
knew. When they reached Princess Lilith 
they omitted her, of course, humbly but 
pointedly ; and Lilith hid behind her fan and 
was ready to cry with vexation. 

" It is really annoying," whispered Mrs. 
Trevylyan to Miss Temple, **to see Lilith 
so afraid of those dear good people. It 



l8o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

makes quite an awkwardness in the parish, 
and Tm afraid to ask Mrs. Palmer to my 
working party." 

" Dear, dear ! " sighed Miss Temple ; *' a 
sweet girl like that and brought up to be so 
haughty ! " 

Lilith moped in a corner, and would not 
dance ; she thought she had never been at 
such a horrible party, and asked herself angrily 
why in the world she had come. Then she 
spied Edward, to whom she had not spoken 
since that unlucky expedition to Egypt. 
Edward always knew the right thing to do, 
and he came up and talked to her just as 
usual, not appearing to notice her momentary 
embarrassment. She felt quite grateful for 
his savoir fairCy and soon she was dancing with 
him and almost on the old friendly footing. 

** You may come and see us sometimes, 
Edward," she said with studied carelessness, 
" as 2. friend, you know." 

'' To be sure, I will," returned Edward, 
without emotion. 



REMORSE. 1 6 1 



Grace Kidson was at this party also, and 
Lilith, who had seen her sometimes with 
Mrs. Palmer, insisted on an introduction. 
Edward alone was bold enough to make the 
two girls acquainted. It amused him to see 
them together, they were so extremely 
unlike ; Lilith, who (in theory at least) 
belonged to the days of chivalry ; Grace, 
who (likewise in theory) was a " Woman of 
the Future." They had a long conversation, 
in the course of which Grace aired her views, 
and was enchanted. by her new pupil's docility, 
and distressed by her ignorance and want of 
spirit. Lilith received a succession of little 
shocks, which would probably have made 
her distinctly unfriendly, had not the 
"Woman of the Future" been so wonder- 
fully beautiful ; and, important fact, a sort of 
stepping-stone to Tom Palmer s acquaintance. 

'* I will consult this lady," said Lilith to 
herself; ''she will tell me what I ought to 
do, and I will give her a message for him." 

Grace saw the troubled eyes, and imagined 



1 82 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

anything rather than a love affair to be at 
the bottom of Lillth's melancholy. 

" In your influential position, dear Miss 
Turold," — this was a part of Grace's conversa- 
tion with her new acquaintance — ''you must 
be most thankful that women are now 
allowed to leave the four walls of their 
home. No, surely you do not stay within the 
four walls } That is not done nowadays. 
You have only to spread your wings and 
you will find you can fly. Do not lose the 
few precious years of your independence. 

* Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, 
Old Time is still aflying.' 

You may have to marry. After that it 
is unfortunate that a woman cannot do very 
much. The mind does not grow after 
marriage." 

" I shall never marry," said Lilith, only 
half attending, and thinking of her message 
to Tom. 

'' Nor I ! " said Grace, with enthusiasm ; 
" even the decadent French novelists are 



REMORSE. 183 



beginning to admit that women are given 
their health, their intellect, their beauty, 
for something higher than to be a nurse to 
some man's little children. Let a woman 
use her talents ; even the admiration her 
beauty excites has its use ; but then it must 
be the admiration of the many who are 
incited by it to something noble ; not the 
admiration of some mere individual, which 
produces selfishness, and vanity, and animal 
instincts." 

Lilith sighed ; it did not seem possible 
that a virgin with such lofty views could 
help her to speech with her lover. 

She went thoughtfully home and reflected 
all night. In the morning she gave her 
father a glowing account of Grace — Grace, 
the most beautiful person she had ever seen, 
member of a family known to Lady Caroline ; 
introduced by Edward, admired by Edward. 

Mr. Turold surveyed his daughter over 
the top of the newspaper, and told himself 
she was jealous — an excellent symptom. 



184 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Papa," ended Lilith, '' Miss Kidson is 
staying at Silcote Dene, and I want to go 
and see her ! " 

" My dear love," said Mr. Turold, " how 
can you see any one at Silcote Dene ? " 

" Papa, I want to go to Silcote Dene. I 
met Mrs. Palmer one day at the vicarage ; 
she got up to leave the moment I came in, 
and Mrs. Trevylyan quite bustled her out. 
I felt so horrid, papa. And I want to be 
friends with Miss Kidson." 

Her father remained quite unmoved, 
rallied her a little, and changed the con- 
versation. 

Next Lilith tried a letter to Grace, the 
stepping-stone. 

'* Dear Miss Kidson, 

" I am so sorry not to have seen you again, 
but my time has been much occupied this week, and, 
indeed, will be so till we leave for Scotland. I must 
hope for a more favourable opportunity later on ; you 
are often, I believe, in our neighbourhood. I have 
thought much of our talk and the new ideas you gave 
me. I wonder if you could manage some time to hint to 
Mr. Thomas Palmer for me " 



REMORSE, 185 

Lllith Stopped. She could invent no 
ending for that sentence ; and the whole 
letter was untrue. No way of prosecuting 
the acquaintance was likely to show itself 
later on; and Grace would smile at Miss 
Turold's overwhelming occupations. Nor 
was Lilith so much enamoured of Grace's 
views as she tried to be ; she did not agree 
about the degradation of the imaginary wife 
who nursed little children. Babies — new 
people — would seem to Lilith more interest- 
ing and more important than Egyptian 
hieroglyphics, or votes at an election. She 
would not write to Grace. No ; she would 
write an apology to Tom himself ! 

Again and again Miss Turold took the 
pen in her hand and tried to begin. But 
this also proved impossible. How could she 
even address him ? A man she had kissed ! 
And what could she say which would not 
heap insult on injury '^. He would tear the 
letter up ; stamp on it. He thought her 
a bad girl. He thought dreadful things of 



1 86 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

her. He thought she should not have 
kissed him. He thought she went about 
kissing people who were just pleasant 
acquaintances. He thought she went about 
kissing people and then cutting them. How 
could she apologize and explain — explain, in 
a letter ? 





CHAPTER V. 



N the 26th of August, the Molesworthy 
Horticultural Society held its final 
Flower Show. This time the exhibition was 
in the park of Turold Royal, and a very 
brilliant affair. Two great tents were erected 
within sight of the Court, and the wide 
stretch of pleasant country where a sweet 
smell from distant cornfields subdued the 
luscious odours of grapes and melons and 
roses from the best hothouses in the 
vicinity. This was the most important 
function at which Llllth had yet officiated 
as hostess ; she sat in state at the far end of 
the biggest tent with a regular little Court 
around her. She was richly dressed in pale, 
silver-embroidered cloth, and she had a 



1 88 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



spreading hat to match, and at her throat 
a spray of most dehcate tea roses, presented 
by the winner of the first prize. Mr. Turold 
was proud of his daughter, and noted with 
satisfaction that every one, from bashful 
schoolboy to magnificent dowager, treated 
the Princess Royal with the greatest dis- 
tinction. He himself did not sit upon a 
throne. Affability was his role ; he roamed 
about, greeting every one he knew, saying 
pretty things, and, if pleased with the person 
he addressed, bringing him to Lilith for 
presentation. The afternoon's success 
delighted him ; he had already asked a 
dozen people to dinner, had escorted eight 
to pay homage to the old despot in his retire- 
ment, had sent a few youths to the billiard- 
room, and had organized three parties to go 
round the Court with the housekeeper. 

The day wore on, and at last Mr. Turold 
began to get a little hot, and a little be- 
wildered, and a little bored. He gave him- 
self a short holiday, whispering to Mr. 



REMORSE. 189 



Trevylyan over an ice, "Who is this ?'' and 
*' Where is that ? " and '' Is this other never 
going away ? " 

*' And upon my word, Trevylyan, who is 
that exquisite creature near the tea-stall, 
handing a cup to an old lady in black ? 
She's as pretty as Lilith ! " 

''Where?" Mr. Trevylyan craned his 
head. *' As pretty as Lilith.^ Surely not. 
Oh, the lady in black is Lady Milnes, of 
whom you were just speaking, and those are 
her two younger daughters. Handsome 
girls, I admit." 

"Lady Milnes! Ah! I thought I knew 
her face. She wears well ; she must be 
near sixty. The plainer of the daughters is 
the one lately married, I suppose ? Mrs. 
— Mrs. — I forget the name. Lilith has met 
the young ladies, I believe. Ah ! she has 
sent Edward Vane for the beauty. Very 
right — very right." 

He left the vicar and went to speak to 
Lady Milnes, an old friend whom he had 



I go THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

not met for years. Mr. Trevylyan moved 
into the chair Mr. Tiirold had quitted, and 
only then perceived that close beside Lady 
Milnes were seated Mrs. Palmer and her 
niece Louisa Howe ; and that Edward Vane 
was leading to the Princess Royal, not the 
pretty Miss Milnes, but the very far prettier 
Grace Kidson. And — this was really alarm- 
ing — Mr. Turold, with the air of infallibility 
peculiar to his race, was bearing down 
through the crowd, not on Lady Milnes at 
all, but on the unknown and unregarded 
Mrs. Palmer. 

** Goodness me ! " exclaimed the unhappy 
vicar, '' he will say it is all my fault ! " And 
he took up his hat and left his ice, and fled 
away home and locked himself up in his 
study ; unable to face the consequences of 
what he had done. 

Meanwhile, conceive Lilith's astonishment 
and that of every other person, when Mr. 
Turold was seen escorting, with vast courtesy 
and great solemnity, to the presence of the 



REMORSE. 1 9 T 

princess, good Mrs. Palmer, of " Prepared 
Paraffin" reputation, who was hanging on 
his arm and looking frightened though 
pleased, and closely follow^ed by Louisa 
Howe. Several persons who knew Mrs. 
Palmer but had all the afternoon been trying 
to avoid her, took courage now and bowed 
to the worthy woman, salutes which she 
returned very awkwardly, being flustered by 
so much sudden attention. 

" Lilith, my love, here are some old 
friends," said Gilbert Turold. Then he turned 
to Louisa, "" You have met my little girl, I 
think .? " Then back to Mrs. Palmer, '' I am 
ashamed to say I cannot recollect your 
daughter's name." 

** Oh, it's my niece," said Mrs. Palmer. 
" Mrs. 'Owe." 

" Curious thing," thought Mr. Turold, 
" Lady Milnes has never lost that provincial 
accent she acquired in her childhood." 

Lilith, very pale, shook hands with 
Louisa. 



192 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" Oh yes, I know Mrs. Howe," she said, 
embarrassed. ** How nice it was at Luxor ! 
Do you remember those silly donkeys 1 " 
(*' Now or never," thought Lilith. *' I will 
ask for him — for Tom.") And she shook 
hands with Mrs. Palmer, not knowing if she 
stood on her head or her heels. 

** At Luxor was it you met ? " said Mr. 
Turold. ** Well, I don't know how you 
liked the climate, Mrs. Howe, but I must 
say my dear child has not looked the better 
for it." He turned to the elder lady, '' We 
are charmed to have you for neighbours ; 
quite charmed. I mustn't praise our own 
county, but I really think you could not 
have pitched your tent in a pleasanter one. 
Such absolutely rural scenery, yet within 
easy reach of town." 

'' It's very convenient for business people," 
said Mrs. Palmer ; and for a moment he was 
posed. 

" Ah, to be sure ! I heard that your 
son 



REMORSE. 193 



" Tom 'asn't been here much. He 'asn't 
taken to It so much as we'd 'oped." 

*' All in good time ; all in good time," said 
Mr. Turold, wondering what was the matter 
with Lilith. " Will you allow me to bring 
my daughter to call ? You have been wish- 
ing that, I know, my love." 

*'I do wish it very much, papa," said Lilith. 

Everybody was watching this little scene 
with astonished eyes. 

** I understand it perfectly," said the deaf 
Miss Temple, in what she believed a whisper; 
" some one whose opinion Mr. Turold 
values has introduced them formally, and he 
is doubly cordial now because he feels he 
has been too stiff. Trust dear Mr. Turold's 
good heart in the long run." 

Mr. Turold heard none of this. Lilith 
and Mrs. Palmer had sharper ears, and both 
coloured. 

"We shall be at 'ome to-morrow," said 
Mrs. Palmer, ''and very pleased to see you, 
I am sure." 

VOL. I. 13 



194 '^HE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

'' Now, Lilith, mind you let nothing inter- 
fere with that, my love," said Mr. Turold ; 
*' your dear mother's oldest friend." 

'' Papa ! " exclaimed Lilith, then began to 
talk very fast to Louisa. '' Oh yes ! we 
shall be so pleased to visit you to-morrow. 
And you must come and see the curiosities 
I brought home. Do you remember the 
* ver good antique Horus-god ' you helped 
me to bargain for ? " 

'' I will first take Lady Milnes round the 
exhibits," said Mr. Turold, '' and then I hope 
she and Mrs. Howe will come into the 
house with us and rest a little." 

Confusion was now manifest to every one. 
Mrs. Palmer looked to Lilith for explanation, 
and Lilith was scarlet to the roots of her hair. 

'' Edward, do help us ! " murmured the 
girl ; and Edward shook himself and came 
forward a little. With his slightly male- 
volent disposition, he was good at a disagree- 
able job. 

'' I think," he said dryly, "■ there is some 



REMORSE. 195 



little mistake ; you are not speaking to Lady 
Mllnes, sir, but to Mrs. Palmer." 

To Mrs. Palmer ! Of course. ]\Ir. Turold 
did know her face, for he had seen her in 
church, and she was about the age, height, 
and size of his wife's old friend. The mis- 
take was not altogether unnatural. But the 
thins: was how w^ould Gilbert Turold oret 
out of it ? The inexperienced Lilith closed 
her eyes in alarm. 

Mr. Turold began to speak, after a just 
perceptible pause : 

''To be sure! To be sure! How 
extremely stupid of me ! It is half the 
fault, though, of our mutual friend Trevylyan. 
I've been tellino^ him he must begin 
spectacles. I really hope you will pardon 
me, Mrs. Palmer. A most ridiculous blunder! 
Shall we go on to the exhibits '^. You will 
see your gardener looking terribly vain ol 
his peaches. Now, can you tell me where 
you got the young trees from ? My 
gardener persuades me " 



196 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Lilith heard no more, but as long as she 
could she watched her father still leading 
Mrs. Palmer about, pointing out all the 
prizes, presenting her with his own highly- 
commended grapes, and talking away just 
as smilingly as he had talked to the 
imaginary Lady Milnes. Never was simple 
woman so much flattered as good Polly 
Palmer. 

Nevertheless, Mr. Turold did not ask 
her, nor Mrs. Howe, nor Miss Kidson Into 
the house. He reappeared"" in process of 
time beside Lilith, and took her home ; but 
uttered not a word about his blunder, nor 
did the girl, nor did Edward Vane, the 
cynical spectator. 

Next day, about three o'clock, Lilith's 
pony-carriage appeared at the door, and 
she came down very nicely dressed though 
less royally than yesterday. 

** Are you ready, papa ? " she asked. 

" Going for a drive ? " said Mr. Turold, 
and got in, taking the reins himself. " Why 



REMORSE. 197 



do you wear white, Lilith, when you are 
so provokingly pale ? " 

'' I put on white, papa," said Lihth, 
" because some one whom we shall perhaps 
see, likes it." 

*'Hm; Edward," said Mr. Turold to 
himself ; " got an appointment with him, has 
she ? Good child to tell me." 

They were bowling along swiftly through 
the park, Robin flying over the smooth 
road ; and Mr. Turold looked with some 
displeasure at the trampled grass and an 
occasional sandwich-paper, relic of yesterday. 

*' I was pleased with you at the show, 
Lilith," he said; " you looked pretty and took 
your position well. Dear ! dear ! it seems 
only the other day that your dear mother 
did the honours of the first flower show. 
Very little older than you, Lilith, she was 
then. I wonder how many times my little 
girl will invite the county to her flower show .^ 
Some day an old lady with white hair and 
two dozen grandchildren will look back to 



198 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

the young Lillth's first attempt and smile 
to think how formidable it seemed. Well, 
there's no good thinking ahead at my 
time of life — it only makes one melancholy. 
Here we are at the lodge. Which way, 
my dear ? " 

" To the left, papa." He turned the 
pony. 

" And where am I taking you ? " 

** You know, I think." 

" Not I, indeed, my dear ! " 

'* To pay that visit, papa." 

" A visit ? I have forgotten. And I 
haven't on my visiting hat." 

Lilith set her teeth : a fight was coming. 
'' Papa, we must go and see Mrs. Palmer ; 
we said we would." 

" Nonsense, Lilith ! " Mr. Turold stopped 
the pony, and sent the servant home on 
some excuse ; then said slowly : " I don't 
wonder you are annoyed, my child. I 
made a fool of myself I confess it. But 
we mustn't let bad grow worse. I made 



REMORSE. 199 



a point of being civil to that good 
woman yesterday, but now we must drop 
her." 

'' Papa, that's exactly what I did ! I 
know that's a bad way. I knew her — her 
niece, papa, and her — oh dear ! her friends, 
papa, and — well, yes, all of them, quite well 
at Luxor. I did what you call ' making a 
point of being civil.' And now I have 
dropped them, and cut them, and you 
can't think how inea7t I feel. Please, please, 
papa, not because you were rude — you 
weren't, that was only a mistake — but 
because / have been most dreadfully rude, 
do, do let me go and call to-day, if it is only 
to leave cards. You can't think how un- 
happy I am about it ! " 

" You are a very silly child to worry your- 
self. They will perfectly understand," said 
Gilbert Turold, wondering what she was 
talking about. 

'' Oh no ! Nobody could. They will only 
feel mortified and despise us. It was bad 



200 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

enough for me before, but you made it far 
worse yesterday," cried Lilith, tilting at the 
weak point in his armour. '' How could I 
know it was a mistake when you brought 
Mrs. Howe up and told me to renew my 
acquaintance with her ? Of course I said I 
was glad. I was glad. Papa, if she was 
niece to our very dustman, I should still wish 
to go and see her." 

** Mr. Palmer is certainly not our dust- 
man, but we burn his oil, which is much 
the same thing. He has not even retired 
from his business." 

" But, papa, no ! " cried Lilith ; " we don't 
burn his oil. You ordered it all out of the 
house when you were angry, and we have 
poked in the dark ever since ! " 

They both laughed, and being in a solitary 
lane, Lilith pouted her pretty lips and kissed 
him. 

'* Well, well, my pet," said Mr. Turold, 
'' I suppose you must have your way this 
time, because I have led you into a scrape. 



REMORSE. 20 1 



But remember it's a strictly formal visit, and 
I won't have it repeated." 

Lilith seized the whip and lashed Robin 
into a gallop. Her eyes sparkled, and Mr. 
Turold thought her elation at victory very 
naughty. 

But fortune was not with Lilith. In ten 
minutes they rattled up the drive at Silcote 
Dene (no less sleek than their own), and 
Lilith herself jumped out at the big front 
door and pulled the bell. Mrs. Palmer and 
Mrs. Howe were out. The little bits of 
pasteboard which Lilith handed in might 
possibly be a pleasure to the "good woman"; 
but they yielded no satisfaction to the visitor 
herself, who had wanted a word with a totally 
different person. 

" Is — is young Mr. Palmer here now ? " 
faltered Miss Turold in desperation, her 
voice hardly audible. 

" No, madam," said the man, with a 
•servant's waxwork indifference. And Lilith 
fled, ashamed of herself, yet in her despair 



202 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

faintly hoping the man would whisper to 
Tom that she had spoken his name. 

Day after day passed, and Lilith put on 
a white frock every afternoon and stayed 
resolutely at home in the forlorn hope that 
Tom might come with his mother when she 
made her call. But at last Mr. Turold and 
his daughter set off for Scotland ; and it 
was not till two days later that Mrs. Palmer 
and her husband, and Grace Kidson who 
was used to great people, called formally at 
Turold Royal. Lilith found a great flight 
of their cards when she returned home two 
months later, but among them none belong- 
ing to her offended lover. 




ra n II II II II M 1 1 ir ■■ '■ ■■ *' ■■ ■*! 



CHAPTER VI. 

OVEMBER; the dullest of the months, 
but less dull at Turold Royal than 
in some places ; for the oaks — numberless 
there — keep their leaves longer than any 
other trees. 

Lilith, still pale and wistful, has just come 
home after her Scotch visits, and she is 
in her bedroom with her friend Geraldine 
Mount Jocelyn, having a great consultation 
about clothes. At least it beQ^an about 
clothes. 

" Oh, Lilith ! have you heard about the 
Hunt Ball ? " cried Geraldine. 

** I heard there was to be none." 

'* So did I ; and while you were away 
there's been ever such a talk about giving 



204 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Up the very hounds. I do believe this is the 
stingiest county in England ! What a pity, 
Lilith, your Mr. Vane is not a hunting man ! 
If he were, the M. F. H " 

" I'll tell you what I do think, Geral- 
dine ! Edward might give the ball this 
year." 

**No, no; it's all settled; I'm telling you. 
It's to come off in a fortnight. But that's 
just what has happened, Lilith ; it's to be the 
usual kind of ball — in a way — but held in a 
private house. Now, just guess who's to 
give it." 

'' Edward." 

^'No, no." 

" Lady Mount Jocelyn." 

*' Really, Lilith, you are too silly ! Has 
mamma ever given a ball ? " 

** I can't guess. Not grandpapa, I sup- 
pose : 

" No ; but he approves. He was con- 
sulted. He wrote to Lord HIghtowers 
about it." 



REMORSE. 205 

"Well, Is It Lord HIghtowers ?" 
** My dear, they are all In crepe mourning. 
How very stupid you are ! " 

" You had better tell me, Geraldlne." 
"It's quite a new member of the Hunt. 
At least, the son is a member. Your 
neighbours, Lilith — the Palmers. Isiit it a 
joke ? " 

''Who has let them in for this?" cried 
Lilith, indignantly. 

Geraldlne, misunderstanding, hastened to 
explain. '' They are really not bad, Lilith. 
They have had their money some time, and 
got used to society in the last place they 
lived at. Somehow every one here has come 
to know them now in a sort of way, and 
every one thinks they had better be made use 
of. Of course we must all bring our own 
parties to the ball, just as If it was at the 
Raven at Molesworthy. Going to Silcote 
Dene In that sort of Avay will commit us to 
nothing." 

" Geraldlne, you are horrid ! It's like 



206 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

taking the money straight out of Mr. 
Palmer s pocket ! " 

*' People of that sort get tolerated only 
because of their money." 

'' It's the meanest reason for toleration 
which I ever heard." 

'' Well, it's the same everywhere. Lilith, 
I did not know you were so fierce about the 
Palmers. You must get over it, and come 
to the ball." 

'' I don't suppose we shall go," said Miss 
Turold, stiffly. 

" But, Lilith, why not ? We are going. 
And every one. Your Mr. Vane is going. 
He told me so. And I thought you had 
called on Mrs. Palmer ? I do assure you 
she isn't half bad. And oh, Lilith — have you 
seen the son ? He is so handsome. Ouite 
distinguished-looking, in appearance and 
everything. A Cambridge man — fair, tall, 
just exactly what I admire. He was there 
the last time we called." 

Lilith was silent, counting how many 



REMORSE. 207 



fingers she had, and Geraldine chattered 
on. 

" And he's hardly ever here ; hardly any 
one has seen him but we : that's what is 
such fun. And he's engaged to that lovely 
Miss Kidson." 

*' Oh, indeed ; " said Lilith. 

" Don't you know Miss Kidson ? She's 
the most beautiful woman I ever saw — only 
she wears no stays. You can't think what 
a fine-looking couple they'll be." 

" Of course I know Miss Kidson," said 
Lilith, putting her fingers away as if at last 
satisfied that she had eight and two thumbs. 
" Who told you she was engaged to Mr. 
Palmer } " 

"Your Mr. Vane, I think. I'm sure I 
wish it wasn't true. Any one's brother 
might marry Miss Kidson ; and as for young 
Mr. Palmer, with his looks and all that 
money, I don't see why he shouldn't have 
one of us — Carry, or Adela, or me." 

" Geraldine, you are horrid ! " 



208 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

" Mamma always tells us that as we've 
only about (^\d. each, we can't possibly marry 
men without money. That's true of you 
too, Lilith. You know a rich man has been 
chosen for you.'* 

Lilith rose with dignity, and began brush- 
ing her hair. 

"• No, Geraldine," she said ; *' I do not 
intend to marry. Women are twice as 
superior, and useful, and valuable, if they 
aren't married. They can visit the poor, 
and sit on the School Board " (all this was 
quotation). " It's a wretched fate for an in- 
telligent creature to be shut up during her 
whole life with one uninteresting man and 
a swarm of noisy children. It is like a 
rabbit to have a whole pack of babies. And, 
indeed, Geraldine, I doubt your story about 
Miss Kidson's engagement, for I have heard 
her say the very same thing." 

'* But no one means that sort of talk," said 
Geraldine. " I've heard mamma go on like 
it for an hour. It's one of the Radical 



REMORSE. 209 

formulas, isn't it ? I can't think where yoti 
got it, dear. And as for Miss Kidson, I 
saw her and young Mr. Palmer together ; 
and any one with half an eye can see that 
she is over head and ears in love with him, 
whatever her theories may be. And I'm 
sure I don't wonder in the least." 

" Will you look at my new dress, now, 
Geraldine ? " said Lilith. 

*' I don't care a button about your dress,'* 
urged Miss Mount Jocelyn, trying on all 
her friend's hats ; '* but I do care very much 
about your coming to the ball. I intend 
myself to introduce young Mr. Palmer to 
you ; and if you don't admire him, I'll never 
speak to you again, Lilith," she ended 
ferociously. 

It is needless to say that Gilbert Turold, 
on hearing of the ball, was vastly displeased. 
When he further listened to his father 
defending the arrangement, he decided that 
symptoms of mental weakness had appeared 
in the old man, who, to save a few paltry 

VOL. I. 14 



2IO THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

pounds, was thus forgetting the family tra- 
ditions, and allowing the whole neighbour- 
hood to lie under an obligation to these 
wretched shopkeepers. 

But it was too late to protest ; the whole 
thing was settled, and invitations to Gilbert 
himself and to his daughter were already 
staring him in the face. 

*' Pshaw ! " he said, and tore them up and 
flung them into the paper-basket. But Lilith 
picked them out again, and pieced the torn 
edges together, and stood meekly before 
him as if awaiting commands. 

"■ Papa," said Lilith, '* let us go." She 
spoke with great energy. 

" I shall exhibit my strong disapprobation 
by staying away," returned her father. 

" Please, papa, let me go," pleaded Lilith. 
'* The Mount Jocelyns always come to us 
for the Hunt Ball, and you know I like to go 
everywhere with Geraldine ; and Edward is 
going, and everybody." 

" You tempt me sometimes, my dear, to 



REMORSE. 2 1 1 



think you are not a reasonable creature," 
said Mr. Turold. 

But she got her way in the end, of course, 
and she ordered a very beautiful new white 
dress for the occasion from her best dress- 
maker, regardless of economy. No cold or 
headache, no authority of her elders could 
have kept Lilith away from that ball. He 
would have to be there. All these wretched 
months she had waited, and possessed her 
soul in impatience and misery ; now at last 
it was coming to an end. She would be 
in the same house with Tom, and she would 
not leave it till she had made him an 
apology for the ** insults she had heaped 
upon him." So she expressed it to herself. 



CHAPTER VII. 

ILCOTE DENE, described from the 
Turold point of view as a gimcrack 
villa, was nevertheless an extremely nice 
house. The rooms were well-shaped and 
spacious ; the hall, lofty ; the stair, imposing. 
Whoever had arranged the decorations to- 
night, had done his work well ; there were 
banks of palms and trails of ivy ; flowers in 
profusion ; everything bizarre or questionable 
planted out. 

Mrs. Howe was mistress of the cere- 
monies ; she was an imitation lady so suc- 
cessful that it needed a very connoisseur to 
detect the fraud. On the other hand, there 
was nothing fraudulent about Grace, who, 
in any company, was just herself, and never 



REMORSE. 



for an Instant tried to be anything else ; she 
was the beauty of the evening, beyond all 
question. Mr. Palmer, with his white hair 
and kind face, did not take much notice of 
his guests beyond smiling on them out of 
his goodwill and contentment. In the son 
of the house was Louisa's stron^ confidence : 
Tom, like herself, had good instincts, 
memory, a clear head, self-possession, and 
common sense, while he had the advantaore 
of her in looks and in education. Louisa 
instructed Tom very ably about the choosing 
of his partners and the amount of ceremony 
to be observed with each. 

"And, of course, there's Miss Turold," 
she ended ; *' I don't believe she will come, 
but if she does " 

'* Leave me to manage Miss Turold," said 
Tom, shortly, and turned away. He was 
not anticipating enjoyment, for he felt that 
his parents had been " put upon," and 
were out of their place ; still he meant 
to do his duty, and, as far as in him lay. 



214 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

to make this ridiculous entertainment a 
success. 

The party from Turold Royal arrived at 
last : the heiress In person ; Lady Mount 
Jocelyn and her brood, which included the 
young Viscount ; Edward Vane, and a few 
others. Mr. Turold had specially com- 
mended Lillth to her kinsman's care ; 
probably, so Geraldine surmised, Edward's 
proposal was to be made to-night, and Mr. 
Turold and Lillth herself were fully pre- 
pared for it. 

Helping her in the alarming task of 
receiving her guests, Tom stood by his 
mother. The moment had come, thought 
Lillth seeing him ; and with it, a thousand 
fears came into her heart. She turned scarlet 
as she shyly greeted the man she had kissed, 
and half held out her hand. Tom bowed 
quite politely, without colouring at all ; but 
he did not appear to see her hand, and 
immediately entered into conversation with 
Geraldine Mount Jocelyn. 



REMORSE. 2 1 5 



" I want to introduce you myself to Miss 
Turold," cried Geraldine. 

*' We have already been introduced," said 
Tom, betraying no restlessness, nor desire 
to secure Lilith's promise for a dance. 

Soon Geraldine was too busy with her 
own affairs to notice her friend's ; she scarcely 
observed that Lilith was not dancine with 
young Mr. Palmer, and no one else re- 
marked upon the fact. It was not un- 
likely that the girl, brought up with an 
exaggerated sense of her own dignity, might 
decline dancing with a mere Tom Palmer, 
even though a guest of his father's. 

And Lilith guessed that this construction 
would be put upon her conduct, and was 
ready to cry ; she was managing her engage- 
ments with the greatest diplomacy so as to 
give Tom a chance at any moment. But 
hour after hour passed, and she realized that 
he did not intend to dance with her; nay, 
nor to speak to her, nor to look at her. 
Beyond that one bow at her entrance, he 



2l6 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

had not taken the smallest notice of her, 
and Lilith was far too shy to walk up to 
him and herself insist upon speech. She 
was miserable ; she looked sick and wretched ; 
though chattering and laughing and dancing 
excitedly, she was longing for one moment 
only, the moment for escape. She asked 
herself if there could be a girl in the whole 
world so unhappy as she. 

"I must get away from home," she thought; 
" I can't go on living next door to a man 
who despises me. I will please papa and 
marry Edward ; or the man grandpapa has 
found for me, whoever he may be. Oh, how 
miserable, how very very miserable I am ! " 

She had strayed into the music-room for a 
few minutes' rest. A number of elderly 
people were sitting there, and Tom was 
standing near the piano, talking music with 
an old lady, a ci-devant amateur of note. 

** I say, Lilith," said Lord Mount Jocelyn, 
an old playmate of Miss Turold's, and a 
favourite, " are you engaged for the next ? " 



REMORSE. 2 I 7 



"Why, of course I am, Jock." 

"Who to?" 

*' What a rude question ! Go away ! " She 
spoke crossly, for she was so weary and sick 
at heart, and Tom did give her a quarter of 
a glance this time ; of disapprobation, she 
fancied. He was at the piano now, forced 
to it by the musical lady. 

" Oh, I declare ! " murmured Lilith. " I 
came in to escape from noise ; and really 
one can hear the band." 

Tom's ears were sharp, and he was listen- 
ing. She did not want to hear him sing ; 
that was it. His passions were roused. 
They were at war, Lilith and he ; she should 
feel his power. He began the song — the 
Luxor song, Lilith's song, quite unsuited to 
the demands of the musical lady — 

" Oh love ! my love ! If I no more should see 
Thyself " 

" Mount Jocelyn," said LIHth, rising, '' I'll 
dance with you. Take me away from here 
at once.'* 



2l8 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Greatly astonished, the young lad obeyed. 
He confided presently in his mother. 

" I don't believe Lilith is well,'* he said 
anxiously. "She's as cross as two sticks, 
and I thought she was going to cry ; and 
she tells lies about her dances." 

They were at supper by this time, and 
Lady Mount Jocelyn herself was made 
uneasy by her charge's pale looks. She 
forbade the girl to begin dancing again at 
once, and requested Mr. Howe to take her 
to some quiet place for an interval of repose. 
" I will send Geraldine to find out what's 
the matter," reflected the mother, knowing 
the ways of girls. 

As ill-luck would have it, Mr. Howe found 
'* the quiet place " close to where Louisa and 
Tom were holding a short consultation. 
Tom, indeed, had to move a little to make 
room for Miss Turold, who sat down 
abruptly, having felt all of a sudden as 
if she were sfoinof to faint. Louisa looked 
vexed ; and Mr. Howe, aware from his 



REMORSE. 219 



Spouse's frown that he had done something 
stupid, fled awkwardly. Lilith looked round 
for Edward to deliver her ; he was not in 
sight ; only Mount Jocelyn, and, as everyone 
knows, boys are useless in emergencies. 
His one idea was revenge for her naughti- 
ness. 

" This is our dance, Jock. Third extra," 
said Lilith, appealingly. 

" Oh, mother says you're to rest," said the 
Viscount ; '* and as you did give • me an 
extra, and as you aren't trustworthy, I'm 
engaged to some one else now. Good-bye, 
Lilith." He went off, smiling impertinently 
back at her. 

Lilith could not conceal her distress. She 
got up and sat down again confusedly ; and 
Louisa Howe lost her head a little, wonder- 
ing that Miss Turold should be so mortified 
by the prank of a mischievous boy. 

''Aren't you dancing. Miss Turold?" 
she said. '' Tom — what are you thinking 
about?" 



2 20 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Tom was as much annoyed as Llllth ; but 
with Louisa and other people looking on, 
only one course was possible. 

'' May I have the pleasure ? " he said 
stiffly, anticipating repulse. 

" Yes," said Lilith, soundlessly, and stood 
up holding out her hands. 

It was done so quickly that neither quite 
realized what had happened, as they floated 
away among the other couples. They did 
not speak. The mere idea of speech terri- 
fied Lilith now, and she was aware that 
Tom's arm round her was trembling, and 
that he also was ''feeling it." 

" Don't — don't stop," said the girl, ner- 
vously ; and they went on and on to the 
entire admiration of all spectators. 

But the necessity for breath came at last, 
and rather suddenly. Tom heard a little 
gasp from Lilith, and she seemed to struggle 
out of his arm. Then he saw she was in 
tears. Quick as thought he had borne her 
through the curtain which shut off the ball- 



REMORSE. 221 



room from the passage to the big green- 
house ; and they were alone. 

'' I— I'm tired, I think," sobbed LiHth. 
Tom took her to a low seat at the far end 
of the conservatory, among the tree ferns 
and hanging mosses. There was very little 
light ; the nook was screened from view, and 
had, indeed, remained undiscovered. 

" Shall I bring you anything, Miss 
Turold ? " he asked. 

'' No, no ; I don't want anything," said 
Lilith, fighting for composure, and leaning 
back with her eyes shut. 

Tom took her fan and fanned her quietly. 
He also was fighting with himself; the long- 
ing to kiss that slender, trembling hand, that 
fair heaving neck, was almost unbearable. 

" I want to speak to you," said Lilith at 
last, sitting up straight, and thinking her 
best chance lay in reproaches ; " why have 
you been so unkind ? Why have you kept 
away all these months and avoided me, and 
never eiven me a chance of one sincrle word 



22 2 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

till now, when Mrs. Howe forced you to ? 
It has not been generous ! " 

" Miss Turold " began Tom ; but she 

interrupted him. 

'' Oh, I knozu it was all my fault ; I know 
I was unpardonable. Haven't I made my- 
self quite ill with thinking of it '^ You might 
have given me the chance just to say I was 
sorry." 

'' But I had no right to expect that," said 
Tom, drawing a little nearer. 

"" I am sorry," said Lilith, looking at the 
roof again. '' Of course I was sorry the 
very next minute. I shouldn't have believed 
I could do such a thing ! I wish you could 
forgive me," she ended, tearfully. 

" Hush ! you mustn't cry like this — about 
nothing," said Tom, and touched her fingers 
for a moment. " Let us be friends," he said 
awkwardly. 

'* Yes, yes ; let us be friends. Oh, if you 
could ever understand — about papa and 
all " 



REMORSE. 223 



'* But I do understand perfectly," said 
Tom, gently stroking her wrist with one 
finger. " You thought I had presumed once 
upon your kindness, and you were afraid I 
might do it again. But, jMiss Turold, you — 
I mean — your slightest wish in a matter of 
that sort — of any sort — would be law to me." 
Though he stammered, his very agitation 
made his manner cold. 

'' I see you are very angry with me," 
murmured Lilith. 

" You had a perfect right to do just what 
you pleased. You mustn't think any more 
about it." 

"Oh, I must. I must. It is so dreadful 
to have some one thinking me rude, and 

heartless, and — and Oh, don't you know 

what I mean .^ " 

There was a pause. 

'' No," said Tom, in a different tone, '' I 
am not sure that I do know quite what you 
mean ! " 

'' It isn't only that. It was before that 



224 '^HE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Sunday at all. I have been wretched ever 
since I spoke to you last. You said such 
cruel things to me. You went away 
believing such dreadful things. Because I 
had made a mistake, because you — made me 
do that — what I did do — you went away 
thinking I was a girl without any heart, 
or principles, or right feeling " 

** I never thought any worse of you than 
what you said yourself." 

" I don't know what I did say. Oh, tell 
me what I said which made you think so 
badly of me ! " 

'' Is it wise to go back upon this ? " said 
Tom, fiercely, with white lips. 

" I must have it explained. You don't 
know what it is to a girl to have any one — 
to have you — thinking badly of her. To 
think she had given you any cause " 

Tom flung himself on his knees beside 
her, his hands on her arm. 

" Think badly of you, Lilith ? Never ! 
How could you suppose it for a moment ? " 



REMORSE. 225 

There was a silence. Tom was watching 
her, and Lillth was looking away at the 
palms straggling to the roof. 

" But you were so angry with me," she 
went on. '' You said " 

" Never that ! It is impossible. Angry ? 
Was I angry ? I was bewildered. We had 
kissed each other. A kiss meant everything 
to me, Lillth. I did not realize there could 
be two views of it. I had never kissed any 
one before " 

** Nor I," burst in Lillth, in an agony ; 
'* never, 7iever ! And I never will again. 
Oh, how could you think — how could you 
believe that I — that people who were 
only " 

*' That you could kiss a man who was 
only a pleasant acquaintance," said Tom, 
dryly, as she could get no further. 

'' Ah, you do remember, you see ! You 
did think badly of me." She covered her 
face with her hands, and the tears rolled 
through her fingers. 

VOL. I. 15 



2 26 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Tom rose and stood at a little distance, 
watching her. 

" Then you had some feeling for me — ^just 
for the minute — when you kissed me ? " 
said Tom, still dryly. 

*' Oh, you are cruel to make me say such 
a thing ! Yes, I suppose I had — ^just for the 
minute. I had rather you thought that 
than what you have been thinking ! " 

'' Don't you see," said Tom, in a low 
voice, " it was a second view of a kiss 
where I had fancied only one. With you 
it was 'just for the minute,' a moment's 
excitement, what you might feel for any 
one; but with me," he went on, drawing 
nearer and taking her hand, '' it meant love 
— ^just that, neither more nor less ; the love 
of my whole heart. Perhaps it was too 
much meaning to put into one kiss, but that 
is what I meant. You didn't understand. 
Do you understand me now ? " All this 
time he was holding her hands crushed 
in his, and Lilith did not take them away. 



REMORSE. 



227 



'' Do you understand now ? " he repeated 
softly. 

" Oh," murmured Lilith, dehriously, 

" I'd give anything if you could forgive 



me 



Then he pressed her hand to his lips, 
smiling a litde as she gazed up at the still, 
starlit heaven through the palm branches 
and the glass roof. 

'' Lilith — darling — will you give me a kiss 
now ? " said Tom at last, very quietly. 




CHAPTER VIII. 

N hour later they were still there, but 
sitting side by side, his arm round 
her, their hands clasped. Lilith's eyes were 
sparkling and her cheeks were pink with 
happiness. Her hair was rough, and one of 
the roses she had been wearing had gone 
into Tom's buttonhole. They were no 
longer in the least tragic. 

'* May I call you Lilith now, my 
treasure ? " 

-Yes." 

'' And you do love me ? " 

"A little." 

" And did you love me when you kissed 
me the first time ? " 

" Oh, Tom, I didn't know it ! " 



REMORSE. 



229 



'* My own darling ! " 

** Won't you forgive me now ? " 

"There is nothing left to forgive. We 
meant the same thing by that kiss, after all.'* 

" Tom ! Something dreadful ! Let me 
hide In your arm again ! Yes, like that ! 
Please kiss me while I ask It— It's a 
dreadful question. Have I been makino- 
love to you this evening .^ '* 

" I think you have rather." 

" Oh, Tom ! What shall I do If you think 
that ? I haven't." 

" It is my turn now." 

" I haven't. Say, I haven't. I was only 
unhappy." 

'* Is she happy now ? " 

" Pretty well. Tom, say I haven't." 

"Do you think I should have dared to 
make love to my princess again, If she 
hadn't — told me I mlgrht ? " 

" Tom, I didn't tell you ! I didn't." 

" You told me with those dear, dear eyes, 
and these thin little fingers," said Tom, 



230 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

smiling, as Lilith twisted them round one of 
his and pulled it playfully. 

" I never meant to, then ! Tom, can you 
forget that day at church when I " 

" When you prevented me from saying my 
prayers, Lilith. I was loving you all the 
time." 

" I thought you would know I was loving 
you all the time, if I spoke to you." 

"A very ingenious excuse, Lilith, which 
you have only just thought of." 

'' But I really believe it is true." 

'' Lilith, I have something here which I 
am half afraid to show you, but which I have 
carried about with me ever since I came 
home to England after seeing you." He 
produced a very small, old-fashioned red- 
leather box, and took from it a ring, old- 
fashioned also, of fine black pearls set in 
gold, the entire hoop. 

*' Tom, you bought that for some one 
else." 

"■ I did not buy it. It was handed over 



REMORSE. 2 3 I 

to me years ago, as having been my mother's. 
I don't know its history ; it's a queer ugly 
old thing ; but when I came home I put it in 
my pocket and have carried it about ever 
since — iov you^ 

" But why ? How could you know 
you'd have an opportunity of giving it to 
me ? " 

'' I suppose — don't be angry, Lilith — I 
had a little, dim suspicion that you did love 
me all the time." 

*' It was very presumptuous of you to 
think anything of the sort ! " said Lilith, 
stretching out her finger for the ring. 

" My darling," said Tom, presently, his 
arm still round her, " now let us talk 
business. What will your father say ? " 

'' I can't think," said Lilith ; '' that is just 
it — I can't think what papa will say. I have 
such a fear that he mayn't be altogether so 
pleased as I am. Tom, must we tell him ? 
Mightn't we have a few happy days together 
first ? " 



232 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" I am going to tell your father the first 
thing to-morrow morning." 

" Oh, Tom, no ! Why, he doesn't even 
know I am acquainted with you." 

" Really ? Then you did not think it was 
coming to this ? " He looked at her a little 
anxiously. ** Lilith, I wonder if you really 
do mean it, or whether you'll be sorry again 
to-morrow ? " 

'' Do you believe in me so little ? " 

" I believe you love me. My own darling 

Lilith! yes, I know you do. But " Tom 

paused. ** Do you love me enough to fight 
your family for me ? Will you take a day 
or two, dearest, to think it over ? " 

" No." 

*' It would be better than I mean," 

said Tom, impetuously, " I should hate to be 
thrown over later." 

" Oh, don't say it ! I wouldnt ! " 

''Or to feel that I had asked too much, 
and that / was bound, for very love's sake, 
to throw you over. Or worse than either, 



REMORSE. 233 



to know that we were tied for life and that 
you were unhappy." 

" The only thing which could make me 
unhappy," said Lilith, *' would be to lose 
you now or at any time. Oh, do believe 
me ! I am not very brave. I don't wonder 
you think so, when I have shown myself so 
cowardly. But it will be quite different, with 
you to help me. I could face the whole 
world with your arm round me, Tom ! " 

'' Very well, Lilith. And perhaps we 
shan't have to fight so hard as we think. 
I have some advantages. Do you know, 
my sweet, what my best argument will 
be?" 

"■ That you are yourself." 

" I'm afraid not. That Lilith loves me!' 

" Papa won't care a ^g for that ! And, oh, 
Tom, I have a grandfather." 

" I don't care a fig for a grandfather." 

*' But such a grandfather ! He has never 
been disobeyed in all his whole life. Papa- 
won't go against him, I know, whatever he 



2 34 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

might think himself. And he is very old. 
He has forgotten how young people feel. 
He likes snuffy elderly persons with stammers 
and cork legs. He won't admire you a bit, 
Tom." 

"Well, my Lilith, I can't see that I have 
anything to do with him. I shall address my- 
self to your father, and as soon as possible." 

'' Yes, Tom ; only not to-morrow, please. 
We must prepare him gradually." 

** Because he may not approve ? " 

"■ I wish I could think he would approve ! 
Tom, I'll be brave with you, anyhow, and say 
the truth. I am quite sure he won't approve." 

" Then you must be brave all round, 
Lilith, and let me tell him to-morrow. Don't 
you see, my sweet, I can't be making love 
to you behind his back when he wouldn't 
approve of it." 

" But you are doing it now ! " cried Lilith. 
'* Oh, Tom, two days ! Let me just tell him 
I know you, and have danced with you, and 
like you." 



REMORSE. 235 



" I don't think it would do a bit of good, 
Lilith ; and I should feel a sneak, and you'd 
be cutting me again when we came out of 
church on Sunday." 

Then voices were heard ; that of Lady 
Mount Jocelyn, approaching, but happily not 
quite to the nook ; so the pair remained 
hidden there, silent and smiling, and pinch- 
inof each other's fineers. 

" Mr. Palmer, I wonder if you could find 
Miss Turold for me ? No one seems to 
know what has become of her. She was 
seen dancing with your son, but that was a 
long time ago. She is not strong. I do 
hope nothing has happened to her!" Her 
ladyship passed on ; but the interview was 
ended, and presently the lovers emerged 
from their seclusion and rejoined the world. 

Lilith smiled to herself the whole way 
home that night, but she said scarcely a 
word to any one. She had given no ex- 
planation of her long disappearance ; and 
after it she had refused to dance, and had 



236 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

offered no objection when her chaperon sug- 
gested returning home. 

Mr. Turold had gone to bed, but on hear- 
ing the wheels he put on his dressing-gown 
and came out to meet the girls on their way 
to their rooms. 

He was pleased to find Llllth all sparkles, 
gay as a lark, with flushed cheeks and 
radiant eyes. He asked her a very few 
questions, which she answered enigmatic- 
ally ; but he made out that she had ac- 
complished a reconciliation with an enemy, 
and that she was the happiest girl In Eng- 
land, and that to-morrow she was coming to 
him to ask a boon, and that the ball had 
been the very nicest she ever was at. Mr. 
Turold retired to his bed-chamber, satisfied 
that the child had made up her quarrel with 
Edward and had accepted him for a hus- 
band. So that all was well. , 

Meantime Tom Palmer was telling the 
news to the dear old man, his father. 

*' I am. coming back to live at home," he 



REMORSE. 237 



said; "here, at Silcote Dene. You were 
quite on the wrong scent. She doesn't Hve 
in London. She Hves here ; and now she 
is mine, my Lilith. She is LiHth Turold." 

** My dear boy!" exclaimed Mr. Palmer, 
staggering in unutterable dismay. " Well ! 
well ! well ! Lilith Turold ! Lilith Turold ! " 

Tom, too much excited to notice his con- 
cern, told the whole story from beginning 
to end, and Mr. Palmer listened almost in 
silence ; saying to himself, " My God ! my 
God ! I shall be obliged to tell him now, 
and it'll separate us, as sure as fate. He'd 
be my son still if he heard he was Robinson 
or Thompson. But own cousin of his girl's ! 
It'll come between us. God help me to 
bear it!" 

'' You don't like my news," ended Tom ; 
"you have something on your mind, dad. 
Let's have it." 

Mr. Palmer walked backwards and for- 
wards in great agitation. 

*' Do you expect that vain man, her father, 



238 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

will give her to the son of a chap who began 
life as a common workman ? " 

''Who is the best of men," cried Tom ; 
''who has done what probably Mr. Turold 
couldn't have done : has raised himself to 
the level of a gentleman by his own exertions 
and merits." 

" I know better than you, Tom, if you 
suppose he thinks me on his level. He 
may be more indulgent to you," ended Mr. 
Palmer, proudly conscious of having edu- 
cated his boy with the best. 

"Whether we're on his level or not," said 
Tom, " he's got to take me for a son-in-law. 
Don't, father, stare at me in that dis- 
couraging manner." 

" If you were ready, Tom, to leave your 
own class — my class — and take your place in 
his ? to follow the Bible text literally, leave 
father and mother and cleave to your wife '^, " 

Tom was surprised to see how pale Mr. 
Palmer had become. 

" I don't understand what you mean, dad. 



REMORSE. 239 

Something was said, I believe, about Lilith's 
husband taking her name.'' 

" Yo2i to be called Turold, Tom ! " 

" Would you object to that, father ? What's 
in a name ? As for in any way dismember- 
ing myself from you, why, they'd never ask 
it ! I should be a manifest beast to enter- 
tain such a notion for an instant." 

'* Tom, would you sooner have this girl or 
be my son ? " 

" Dear dad," said the son, distressed, '* I 
never heard you talk nonsense before. I'm 
sure I don't know. The alternative Is for- 
tunately Impossible." 

Mr. Palmer with difficulty suppressed a 
groan. He saw how matters w^ere tending, 
and it was clear to him that he must not 
stand In his dear lad's way. Why, oh ! why 
had he not told him the truth long ago ? 

Yet Mr. Palmer did not proceed to tell 
him even now ; for, remembering Stephen 
Turold's evil career, he felt by no means 
certain that- a revelation of the truth would 



240 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



smooth matters for the lovers. Mr. Turold 
might object to the son of a criminal and a 
suicide quite as much as to the son of an 
honest tradesman, In which case It would be 
useless to distress the boy by robbing him 
of the parents whom now he respected and 
loved. It was a matter In which rash speech 
was not to be undertaken ; so Mr. Palmer 
for the present still kept silence, only sighing 
again and again heavily. 

'' My news has depressed you, father," 
said Tom. *' That's because you do not 
know my sweet Lilith. But don't suppose 
for a single moment that I would buy any 
happiness by neglecting my duty to you." 
He hesitated, flushing a little. ''Duty! I 
never considered the question of duty to you 
before. But I know there never was a fellow 
with greater cause for gratitude and — all 
that, to his father, than I have. You won't 
catch me forgetting that, whatever happens." 

''My dear, dear boy!" said poor Mr. 
Palmer, greatly moved. 



PART IV. 

DEUS EX MA CHINA. 
CHAPTER I. 



ISS TUROLD is still asleep, sir," 
said Lilith's maid, when it was nearly 
twelve, and the Mount Jocelyns were coming 
down to breakfast, wide awake and very 
talkative. 

Mr. Turold softly opened the child's door 
and went in. Lilith's room was very 
pleasant, large, and deeply recessed with 
oriel windows overgrown with jessamine. 
It looked out over the park and the stream- 
washed valley ; to the left, an opening in the 
trees of Silcote Dene showed distant pas- 
tures and hedgerows with far-away blue 

VOL. I. ^g 



242 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

hills. The bed was curtained In pale greens 
and blues, very delicate against the dark 
oak panelling ; little blue gods and beads 
and scarabs, Arabian tiles, fragments of 
antique glass, ralnbow-hued ; verdigris copper 
mirrors and old bronzes were hung on the 
walls. Books were strewn about ; and on a 
small oak table was a great bowl of late 
roses : Edward's present to her yesterday. 
Lillth's small head, her hair unbound and a 
smile on her lips, rested daintily on the 
scarce ruffled pillow ; on the sheet lay for- 
getfully her slender, dimpled hand, and on It 
she wore one ring. There was a history In 
that plain hoop of black pearls, and Mr. 
Turold smiled, seeing it. 

** Curious," he said to himself. '* I was 
thinking of giving her its match yesterday 
from her mother's jewel-box. I knew there 
was a second, but not that It had wandered 
round the family to Edward. Well, it's 
pretty, but of no great value. The pattern 
is common enough. Dear child, how she 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 243 

smiles In her sleep ! She is almost as pretty 
as her mother — almost. Well, you lazy 
puss ! I hope you have had good dreams — 
of lovers, eh ? Good morning ! " 

*'Oh, papa! is it to-morrow? Must I 
get up ? Did you come to wake me, papa ? " 

" I came — to give you a kiss, my pet. I 
shan't have many more chances if that mous- 
tachioed fellow " 

Lilith gave a little scream. 

*' Papa, be quiet ! You don't suppose I'd 

let any one with a moustache Papa, if 

some one came to see you, you would hear 
what he had to say very patiently ? And 
you wouldn't make me unhappy, not even 
to please grandpapa 1 " 

This speech puzzled Mr. Turold a little ; 
but only a little, for girls always talk much 
nonsense. 

"Your grandfather will not offer serious 
opposition, Lilith," he said. 

And she stroked his hand, wondering" 
if by artifice she had pledged him to 



244 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



consent, or If he had somehow ** found 
out " already. If so, what a kind, dear 
father not to scold her ! The goose did 
not think of delusion and of Edward. 
She had dismissed her cousin so decisively 
from her own thoughts that she forgot he 
might be lingering on in the thoughts of 
others. She dressed herself hurriedly, 
hoping that Tom would arrive early, as 
papa seemed in such a very good temper 
this morning. 

Unfortunately, Mr. Turold's good temper 
early received a shock. He had not finished 
his breakfast when he was summoned by the 
old despot, and of course hurried to him at 
once, redolent of coffee, his Q.gg broken but 
not yet tasted. The old man was in any- 
thing but a pleasant humour. 

'* What's all this nonsense of breakfasting 
at twelve o'clock, eh ? Lllith not down yet .^ 
Mount Jocelyn not down yet ? What have 
you got Mount Jocelyn here for "^ " He^ 
not a match for Lillth. A mere boy ! Oh, 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 245 



I dare say ! You've brought up that girl so 
badly you'll have her running away one of 
these days with some mere boy. Now just 
you listen to me," he went on, flinging a 
couple of letters on the table, as if for Gilbert 
to read, but snatching them away jealously 
the moment his son touched them ; '' I'm 
going to brook no more opposition in the 
matter. I'm going to take it into my own 
hands. I have heard this morning from my 
candidate for Lilith, and, look you, I intend 
to close with his offer.'' 

'' Who is he ? " 

*' I am too much irritated by you, Gilbert, 
to gratify your curiosity. Here's his letter, 
though. It's no humbug. He's a very 
wealthy, suitable man. You'll probably re- 
ceive a visit from him in a day or two. Now 
I have told you what I wish. You can go." 

" My dear sir, Lilith's consent must be 
asked before either you or I can proceed in 
such a matter. I am sorry to disappoint 
you, but I may say she will not give her 



246 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

consent. I am to-day expecting Edward 
Vane to conclude his engagement to my 
daughter." 

" Edward Vane ! I despise him and his 
claims together." 

"- I am sorry, sir. I intend to support 
them. It is not fair on Vane to draw back 
now. It is not fair on Lilith, whose affections 
are engaged. Your candidate is too late. 
As I have nothing to do with him, and don't 
even know his name, I beg you will tell him 
so yourself." 

'' But this is intolerable ! " cried the old 
man. " If you choose to live under my roof, 
Gilbert, dependent on me, you must obey 
my orders." 

They eyed each other for a minute. 
Both were obstinate men ; apt to carry out 
threats, though sometimes hasty in making 
them. However, Gilbert reflected that he 
did not want to be turned penniless out of 
his home ; and the old man remembered 
that he would be altogether ruined if he 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 247 

quarrelled with his only son. They parted 
a little more stormily than usual, yet without 
any open breach. Decidedly that old auto- 
crat had lived too long, and Gilbert was 
confirmed in his opinion that his mind was 
getting weak. 

Yet the father smiled as he descended the 
stair, for he caught a glimpse of a slender 
figure in an oriel window, half rolled up in a 
curtain, and with bright eyes fixed on the 
road. That was Lilith looking out for her 
lover. And her father smiled. 

Some one else saw the bright eyes at the 
window. Tom Palmer had come. He rode 
upon a very good horse, and felt what he was, 
a young man of fortune on whom as yet the 
world had smiled. Nevertheless, running 
his eye over the fine old house which he had 
not seen at close quarters before, perceiving 
it substantial and beautiful, written over 
with history, and full of sentiment and of 
importance, in every respect unlike the brand, 
new villa at Silcote Dene, he quaked a 



248 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

little, becoming conscious of great personal 
insignificance, and muttering to himself, " Que 
diable venait-il faire dans cette galere ? " 
And then, still running his glance over the 
walls, and the mullions, and the doorways, 
and the battlements, he met the blue eyes 
at the oriel window, and saw rosy finger tips 
raised to smiling lips. And Tom smiled too 
and forgot his qualms. 

*' Mr. Palmer, sir, is in the drawing-room. 
He asked for you on business, sir." 

" The devil he did ! " exclaimed Mr. 
Turold, internally. "Yates, go and tell 
Mr. Palmer I'm engaged." 

" It's Mr. Thomas Palmer, sir," said Yates. 

Mr. Turold saw in this no mitigation of 
the offence. 

"Just what I expected!" he soliloquized; 
''one thing leads to another. First, these 
people are allowed to build a villa opposite 
to my windows. Next, they come to my 
flower show. Then I am dragged into 
calling. Then Lilith is forced to their ball. 



DEUS EX MACHINA, 249 

And now they drop into my house famiHarly 
in the morning, without an invitation and on 
terms of equahty. I suppose it's the fault of 
those silly Mount Jocelyns, who haven't an 
ounce of discrimination." 

Meantime Yates had deposited the visitor 
in the drawing-room, and had no sooner 
gone in search of his master than Lilith 
joyously appeared through a curtain. 

"Hush! they are all in there!" she 
whispered, pointing to the room she had 
quitted. Tom held out his arms, and, with 
glowing cheeks, she advanced shyly, and 
was folded in them. 

'' Has she repented ?" whispered Tom. 

-No!" 

'' Does she love me still ? " 

"Yes!" 

They kissed soundlessly, and were silent 
a moment looking at each other, Lilith with 
sparkling eyes, her finger on her lips. 

But at last Tom did gain audience from 
Gilbert, and followed Yates to the library, his 



250 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

heart beating with unconscious trepidation. 
Tom knew Mr. Turold by sight ; but young 
Palmer was quite strange to Gilbert Turold. 
He saw at a glance that the fellow w^as 
better looking, better got up, and better 
mannered than his father ; not to be snubbed 
with the precise same snub which Mr. 
Turold would have administered to the older 
man. 

** It is hardly in my power to offer you 
a seat, Mr. Palmer," said Gilbert Turold, 
looking at his watch. " My time is not my 
own this morning. I am momently expect- 
ing an urgent visitor. However — yes, take 
a chair, and excuse me if I ask you to enter 
upon your business without any preamble." 

This was rather agitating. Tom did not 
sit down ; he remained by the open fire- 
place, his foot absently rubbing the blood- 
hound which had wandered in from the hall ; 
and he looked at the great man, and tried 
to fathom his nature, so as to frame appro- 
priate and persuasive words. 



DEUS EX MACHINA, 25 r 

Mr. Turold was irritated, and so appa- 
rently was the dog which growled audibly. 

" I advise you to let that beast alone," 
said Gilbert Turold ; '' he is fierce, and he 
resents liberties openly. Will you excuse 
my again hurrying you, Mr. Palmer ? " 

'' I'm sorry you are hurried," sighed Tom, 
"for I fear you'll think me abrupt whatever 
way I put it. My request " 

"A request?" said Mr. Turold, coldly; 
adding to himself, " I'll refuse it." 

The blood mounted in Tom's face, as he 
said slowly : " Mr. Turold, I have come to 
ask your consent — to marry your daughter." 

Gilbert Turold started out of his chair. 

" I beg your pardon. Did you say to 
marry ? Whom ? " 

"Your daughter — Miss Turold — Lilith." 
Tom was as pale now as he had been red 
a moment before ; his hope of easy victory 
had oozed out at his finger ends. 

The fierce hound, which apparently shared 
his master's moods, was on his feet by this 



252 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

time, growling savagely at the intruder. 
Mr. Turold took up the young man's card 
and re-read it. Had he made some strange 
confusion, and was this person not the 
paraffin merchant's son, but his father's un- 
named matrimonial candidate ? No ; it was 
plain as printer's ink could make it, '' Mr. 
Thomas Palmer, Silcote Dene." 

At this moment the bloodhound — a huge, 
magnificent beast, prize-winner from his 
birth, his master's pride, and the terror of 
all strangers — having crouched for some 
seconds unobserved, made a spring at the 
young man's throat. Tom started at this 
sudden onslaught, but exhibited no great 
discomposure. With both hands he seized 
the animal before he had attained his grasp, 
tore him down, and flung him on the rug 
with a kick. Tamburlaine growled more 
fiercely than ever, but he lay there with 
evident doubts about renewing the combat. 
Tom had not changed his position, but he 
kept his eye on the brute. 



DEUS EX MA CHINA. 253 

" I'm afraid of your dog," he said pre- 
sently, " and he interrupts. Must he 
stay?" 

" You don't seem mtcch afraid of him," 
said Mr. Turold, laughing, with some un- 
willing admiration. '' Has he bitten you, 
Mr. Palmer ? " 

" No, not yet. My request, sir " 

** I regret extremely that you should have 
made it. I can hardly understand your 
invitation of the only possible reply. I 
must say ' No' sir ; most distinctly. And, 
what is more, I must positively forbid you, 
in my daughter's interest and in your own, 
to approach her with a single word on the 
subject. My daughter is very young and 
inexperienced. Where I see only — igno- 
rance, Mr. Palmer, she may imagine — deli- 
berate impertinence. I speak plainly." 

Tom felt himself flushing again. 

" I have spoken to your daughter, sir. 
She knows I am here." 

" What do you mean } " 



2 54 ^^^ PRINCESS ROYAL. 

'' I have asked Miss Turold. She has 
consented." 

" Consented to what ? " 

" To be my wife." 

** Good God ! the man must be mad ! " 
exclaimed Mr. Turold. 

" I love Lilith and she loves me!" cried 
Tom. '' We have told each other so. She 
is ready to marry me." 

'* Do you mean to imply that my daughter 
is mad?" said Mr. Turold, rising and ring- 
ing the bell. ''Yates, send Miss Turold 
to me at once," he said. 

Tamburlaine had crept out from under his 
master s chair ; and was again growling and 
crouching before the visitor, who gave him 
one little kick and took no further notice of 
him. Angry as Gilbert Turold was, he yet 
admired Tom's method with the dog, and 
while waiting for Lilith even made one or two 
insignificant observations about his kennels. 

*' Lilith, stand there, my dear. Do you 
know this gentleman } " 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 255 

*' Yes, papa," said Lilith, trembling. 

'* He says — he has made proposals to 
you r 

" Yes, papa dear," murmured Lilith. 

" Did you not reject them ? " 

" No, papa. I told you " 

'' Be quiet. Have you taken leave of 
your senses, my dear ? How long have 
you known this gentleman ? Since last 
night ? " 

" We met in Egypt," said Tom, " and got 
to know each other very well there." 

" Good heavens ! Is this the case, 
Lilith V 

'' Yes, papa. Oh, papa, turn Tamburlaine 
out! He's going to fly at him." 

"• Mr. Palmer is quite able to defend 
himself from Tamburlaine. Have you been 
deceiving me all these months, Lilith, and 
carrying on a clandestine " 

" No," broke in Tom, '' we have had no 
communication." 

'' Is that so, Lilith ? " 



256 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

** Yes," said Lillth, frightened, and moving 
towards her lover. 

"Don't attempt to touch her, sir ! You 
may go, LiHth. I will speak to you pre- 
sently. Take Tamburlaine with you." 

Mr. Turold reseated himself. 

" This affair has a more serious complexion 
than I thought," he said presently. " I am 
sorry to doubt you, Mr. Palmer, still more 
sorry to doubt my daughter ; but if there 
was nothing clandestine in your acquaintance, 
why was I not informed of it ? I remember 
now seeing you one evening when we came 
out of church, and Miss Turold passed you 
without any sign of recognition. How was 
that ? " 

Tom coloured and was silent. 

"Her action and your own are incon- 
sistent with your statements. Either you 
are overstating the matter in saying your 
acquaintance verged in any degree upon 
intimacy, in which case your proposal last 
night can only be attributed to — I really 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 257 



do not know what to suggest, unless the 
excitements of a ball supper — or you have 
been carrying on a secret courtship, which 
you have the grace to be ashamed of." 

" Indeed, you are mistaken, sir. I asked 
Miss Turold at Luxor to marry me. She 
refused me then. I suppose she thought 
everything was at an end. She had every 
right to cut me afterwards, if she chose." 

" Then, may I ask what right had you to 
exchanore another word with her ? " 

" She told me she was sorry." 

*' Sorry for what ? " 

'' I asked her again if she could love me, 
and she said yes. That was at two o'clock 
this morningf, sir, and now I am here to tell 
you. I could hardly have come sooner." 

" Mr. Palmer, your justification is quite 
inadequate. You tell me my daughter re- 
fused you, and expressed in the plainest 
way — in too plain a way, unless she had 
positive rudeness to complain of — her de- 
termination to have no more to do with 

VOL. I. 17 



258 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

you, knowing, of course, that you are not 
a possible person to pretend to her hand. 
And in spite of all this you force your atten- 
tions upon her, and contrive somehow to 
decoy her from her principles. It has been 
most dishonourable conduct, Mr. Palmer.'' 

'' Indeed, your expressions are too strong!" 
cried Tom. "I can't repeat everything Lilith 
said, which made me know I might speak 
again. I have done nothing dishonourable, 
unless to love her is dishonourable. Why 
do you say I am an impossible person to 
pretend to her hand ? " 

** If you ask an explanation you shall have 
it distinctly. My daughter cannot marry 
out of her class, Mr. Palmer. And let me 
tell you I should say precisely the same to 
a peer of the realm or to a prince of the 
blood. Miss Turold's position is very pecu- 
liar. She is the sole heir of my name and 
of my property, and she can only marry her 
equal. Can you pronounce yourself her 
equal, Mr. Palmer?" 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 259 

" I know I am not her equal," said Tom, 
with dejection. 

'' Then there is the end of the matter," 
returned INIr. Turold, rising. 

Tom plucked up courage again. 

" No, sir ; it isn't the end. Rightly or 
wrongly, I have won Miss Turold's love, and 
I cannot withdraw at once because you tell 
me I am not her equal. I don't think she 
gives great weight to that ; and I can't and 
I won't desert her if she is willing to have 
me in spite of it." 

" Upon my word, sir ! Do you consider 
it an honourable course to tempt a mere 
child to defy her family ? " 

'' I mean that the matter can't be ended 
this morning and dismissed in a single 
sentence," urged Tom ; and to this position 
he firmly adhered. 

" I will promise not to see Lilith, or to 
write to her or to influence her in any way for 
a week, if you will think it over till then and. 
talk to her about it," he suggested at last. 



26o THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

*' Waiting a week won't, I fear, alter your 
position, Mr. Palmer; and it will only un- 
settle you both with vain fancies." 

'* I can't accept a final dismissal to-day," 
said the lover, doggedly ; " it would be 
treachery to her." 

*' She shall write and dismiss you herself," 
said Mr. Turold, angrily. 

Apparently neither had more to say, 
and after they had looked at each other 
for a few minutes in silence, Tom went 
away. 

Mr. Turold stood at the library door 
watching his departure ; and he perceived 
Lilith lying in wait in the hall, and he saw 
the lovers exchange a few words. He could 
not hear what they were, but he was pre- 
pared to swoop down upon them should 
there be the smallest demonstration other 
than speech. Both Tom and Lilith knew 
they were watched. 

" Oh, Tom ! Does he say Nof whispered 
the eirl. 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 26 1 

" I am not going to accept his No yet. 
There Is truce, my treasure, for a week. 
We must do without each other for a week." 

'' Will he say Yes in a week ? " 

''I hope he will say something we can 
agree to. We can't agree to an unqualified 
No. Will Lilith be true for a week ? " 

'' For ever." 

" But I shan't see you for a whole week, 
Lilith, and they will put pressure on you. 
Remember, darling, we love each other ! " 

"" I will be true, Tom." 

" Oh, my darling, my treasure, don't cry ! 
If you knew how happy I was ! This time 
yesterday I thought I was never going to 
speak to you any more, and now to-day you 
have kissed me, and at the end of a week 
you are going to kiss me again. It seems 
too good to be true, Lilith. j\Iy own sweet 
Lilith — my sweet, sweet Lilith ! " 

And then he left her, called for his horse, 
mounted and rode away, and Lilith was left 
to her tears, and to the family conflict. 



CHAPTER II. 

HE tried to escape to her room, but 
her father called her into the library. 
Delay he felt would be worse than useless. 
He placed her in a chair, and Lilith sank 
upon it, and putting her arms on the table 
laid her head upon them. Contrasting this 
distressed damsel with the sparkling creature 
who had flown in his arms last night, 
radiant with the glory of young love, Mr. 
Turold felt stabs of the keenest regret. It 
was the cruelest thing in the world that she 
should have chosen this man ; any other — 
some gentle fool, some humpback, some 
insolvent — might have been possible. But, 
good heavens ! Prepared Paraffin ! It was 
no moment for sentimental compassion. 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 263 



Mr. Turold sat down, poked the fire, called 
Tamburlaine to him and pulled his sleek 
ears ; cleared his throat ; at last braced him- 
self up. 

*' We must deal with this matter at once, 
my dear, and then never mention it again, 
eh ? It won t be pleasant for either of us." 

Lilith, with dreary composure, ran through 
in her mind the thousand and one pleas 
she meant to urge if she could keep voice to 
do it. 

** Papa," she began desperately, "you 
promised this morning that — that you w^ould 
listen. Oh, papa, you said you wanted to 
make me happy." 

*' I did not know then, my dear, that you 
had deceived me." 

" Papa, I was afraid you'd be angry ; I 
didn't think you'd be angry enough to say 
that." 

" I don't know about angry, Lilith. I 
thought I could trust you. I thought you 
understood your position. I thought your 



264 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

own taste would have defended you 
from " 

" Papa, you don't know him, or you 
wouldn't talk like that about taste." 

'' I see what he is well enough. He is 
good looking. When you are ' ten years 
older, Lilith, you won't care a farthing about 
that." 

" I don't care now. He is not so hand- 
some as Edward." 

" Edward ? Ah, poor Edward ! You are 
right there. Edward has a refined " 

'' Oh, papa, don't talk nonsense ! Who 
cares what either of them looks like ? He 
is a great deal bigger than Edward ; and so 
are you yourself, papa ; and so was grand- 
papa ; but it is nonsense to say you are any 
less refined ! " 

''Well, well, well ! " said Mr. Turold, rather 
overwhelmed, ''let me go on with what I 
was saying. I say the young man is fairly 
good looking " 

" Papa, how can you say 'faiidy ' f " 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 265 



" Don't Interrupt so often, my love. I 
admit he is good looking; and I don't say 
he has behaved entirely improperly. He 
has exhibited a certain amount of honesty, 
and he had the sense not to express himself 
at all insolently. But still, one glance shows 
me that the man is an ill-bred, vulgar " 

" Papa, I will interrupt ! I won't have it 
said. It is not trtie, papa. You'd never 
have thought it if you hadn't heard his 
name. When I saw him first, he was with 
horribly vulgar people, and what / saw with 
one glance was that he was totally and 
entirely different." 

This was a false move of Lillth's ; Mr. 
Turold replied very coldly : 

'' And does my daughter propose to marry 
a man whose intimates are horribly vulgar 
people ? " 

Lillth flushed furiously and was silent. 
Her father scored one. 

Then Mr. Turold called upon the girl to 
explain everything that had taken place 



266 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

between her and the young man ; and to 
account, if she could, for conduct which at 
present seemed to him essentially inde- 
corous. 

•' Papa," cried Lilith, '' where did you get 
that idea from ? " 

And Mr. Turold thought he saw oppor- 
tunity for scoring again, and perhaps for 
sowing a little dissension between the lovers. 

" I suppose, Lilith, from your suitor's 
confessions." 

Again she blushed and hesitated. Surely 
Tom could not have described that first 
unlucky embrace ? 

'' Indeed, papa, I don't think I did any- 
thing wrong. He did ask me to marry him. 
At Luxor, I mean. What harm was that ? 
All women, papa, get a great many pro- 
posals. It is nothing extraordinary." 

'' But unless a man is a presumptuous 
fool " 

'' Papa, he isn't. How can you say such 
things to me ? " 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 267 

*' — he will not make an offer of marriage 
without direct encouragement on the part 
of the lady." 

Lilith entered on a hasty explanation. 

** I didn't mean to encourage him, papa. 
But I was very angry just then with 
Edward ; and you know why, papa, and 
what good cause I had to be angry. And 
Edward was ill, and Lady Caroline was 
always with him ; and I didn't like any of 
the other people. And I did like him; 
yes, why shouldn't I say it ? — I did like him 
very, very much indeed. But I never 
thought of anything more. And then he 
asked me ; and I said no. Indeed, papa, 

that was all that happened. Except " 

She stopped, colouring and still thinking of 
that kiss. If she could only know how 
much Tom had told! He was so dread- 
fully candid. 

'' Except what, Lilith ? " 

" I did kiss him, papa, once." 

" Most disgraceful ! " 



268 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

The girl quivered all over with angry- 
shame, and Mr. Turold scored again. 

'' He kissed me last night," cried Lilith, 
'' very often ! And he kissed me again this 
morning. It was not disgraceful, when we 
love each other. It was not, papa ! " 

'' He shall never kiss you again, Lilith. 
That much is certain. Go on. After you 
had kissed this man and let him make love 
to you, you refused him, you say .^ " 

'' Papa, because I was so perplexed. I 
thought you'd never allow it." 

"I am glad you understood that much. 
Then you came home, Lilith, and deliberately 
concealed from me not only that this man 
had made love to you, but that you had ever 
even met him." 

'' Not deliberately." 

*' Nonsense, my dear ! You went out of 
your way to exhibit ignorance. Didn't you 
see him one Sunday evening when he drew up 
in your very path in a highly ridiculous way, 
which I remember annoyed me at the time ? 



DEUS EX MA CHIN A. 269 

Next, most disingenuously, you inveigled 
me into a formal acquaintance with the 
family. Do you suppose, Lilith, if I had 
been aware of the young man's presumption, 
I should have permitted you, on any excuse, 
to set foot in his father's house ? " 

"That was just it!" sobbed Lilith. ''I 
knew you wouldn't, and I — I wanted to see 
him.'' 

" I can hardly believe it possible ! " said 
Mr. Turold, walking up and down the room 
in agitation. " My daughter, whom I believed 
a paragon, dignified and dutiful as became 
my child, has all the time had a concealed 
lover whom she knew would be disapproved 
by her family, and whom, as her own con- 
science told her, she should never have en- 
couraged. I am ashamed of you, Lilith! You 
have behaved like an ignorant kitchen-maid." 

Lilith dropped her head on her arms and 
cried on. Mr. Turold was ready to cry too. 
She was the apple of his eye, and three 
hours ago had looked the happiest girl in 



2 70 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

the world. And though he had worked 
himself up into such an appearance of in- 
dignation, he was quite prepared to forgive 
the poor child, to make excuses for her, and 
to conceal her transgressions from her 
grandfather. The sooner the career of for- 
giveness could be entered upon the better 
pleased he would be. 

'* Come now, Lilith, all this crying will do 
no good, my dear ; let us get the matter 
over. Take a sheet of paper, my love, and 
write what I bid you." 

" To whom, papa ? " 

" To whom ? To the young man, of 
course — Mr. Thomas Palmer," said Mr. 
Turold, pronouncing the not particularly 
euphonious names in a way that made Lilith 
wince. ''Miss Tttrold presejits her compli- 
mentsl' so he dictated, " to Mr, Thomas 
Pahner, and begs to inform hijn without 
delay " 

"Papa, it's no use. I can't possibly write 
to him in that manner." 



DEUS EX MA CHINA. 27 1 

"Well, well, word it in your own way, 
Lilith ; but write you must, and now at once. 
And you must show me the letter when you 
have done. What you are to convey to him 
is this — now, attend : that after reflection and 
conversation with me, you see it is quite out 
of the question for him ever to contemplate 
an alliance with you ; that you greatly regret 
having allowed him to think you entertained 
a regard for him, and that you must request 
him now on his honour as a gentleman — you 
may say that — to give you no further 
annoyance by pressing his suit in any way 
whatsoever, at present, or at any future 
time." 

Lilith, with tears on her lashes, began to 
write. Mr. Turold watched her, standing 
at her side for a moment and patting her 
head affectionately. Lilith gave a sob, and 
put her hand over her letter. 

'* Come, come, come ! " said Mr. Turold, 
encouraging her ; and then he moved to the 
window and blew his nose very loudly. 



272 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Lilith wrote on. 

Presently the scratch of her pen ceased^ 
and she sat mournfully surveying her work 
with blank eyes. 

" Bring it here, my pet/' said her father, 
resolved to make it do if it were at all 
possible ; supplementing it, however, by an 
extremely plain spoken letter of his own. 
Lilith advanced slowly and laid it in his 
hand. Mr. Turold kissed her, putting his 
arm round her waist ; but Lilith was very 
unresponsive and stood looking out of the 
window with blank eyes and whitened 
cheeks. He read the letter : — 

"My own dearest, 

*'Papa is not pleased with me, and says I 
have treated you badly and every one. He won't hear 
of it. But I will never, never give you up unless 
you wish it ; and even then I shall love you for ever 
and ever, and be always thankful that you have loved 
me. 

" I am always your own, 

"Lilith Turold." 

After which came her usual royal flourish. 



DEUS EX MA CHINA. 273 

"Pshaw!" said Mr. Turold, very angrily, 
and tore the poor Httle letter to pieces and 
threw it on the floor. Shaking the girl's 
arm, he turned round sharply and faced 
her. But all Lilith's courage had been 
used up in the tremendous effort of what 
she had done. She fled as fast as she could 
go — across the hall, up the staircase, to 
her own room ; locked the door, and flung 
herself face downwards on her bed. ]\Ir. 
Turold went to luncheon with the ]\Iount 
Jocelyns and explained dryly that his 
daughter had a headache after too much 
dancing at the ball last night. 

Tom Palmer, meanwhile, had ridden 
thoughtfully home. What was he to do 
next ? There was truce for a week, but 
what could he say at the end of a week 
more than he said to-day ? How was he 
to become Lilith's equal in the course of a 
week ? or how dissolve the accumulated 
prejudices of generations of Turolds of 
Turold Royal ? 

VOL. I. 18 



2 74 ^^^ PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Mr. Palmer, in his shirt sleeves and working 
apron, was in the hall expecting his son's 
return. He put his arm through Tom's and 
led him into his ugly little laboratory, where 
was general untidiness and a variety of evil 
smells incidental to his experimenting. The 
contrast between this unclean den and the 
stately library at Turold Royal struck Tom 
at once. 

'' Well, my boy ? well, what did he 
say ? " said Mr. Palmer, with an eagerness 
that must have seemed, to any one but a 
lover, disproportionate to the occasion. 

" He won't consent," said Tom, dejectedly. 

" But what did he say ? Did he treat 
you as a gentleman } " 

"Why, yes," said Tom, with a little 
attempt at jocularity, ''except that he 
didn't call his dog off till I asked him to." 

"■ The gentry say it's a sign of low blood 
when a man's afraid of dogs," said Mr. 
Palmer, so seriously that Tom laughed. 

'' I am not afraid of dogs,'' he said, "only 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 275 

of that dog. If you, my father, had seen 
the tip of his tail — I know you of old — you'd 
have run away. Tamburlaine the brute's 
name is." 

*' I'd have 'em all muzzled," said Mr. 
Palmer, unabashed ; '' the fussing of the 
upper classes with dogs is idolatry — blank 
idolatry. Don't talk of dogs now, my dear 
lad, my dear lad ! " he cried earnestly. 

"Well, father, I have told you. He 
won't have me." 

" Did you tell him I'd give you some six 
thousand a year to start with ? " 

** No ; I never thought of your giving me 
so much," said the son. 

"■ All, Tom, all. Mother and me would 
live on three hundred, and glad to do it, 
my dear boy." 

'' Oh, I didn't go into the money question," 
said Tom, rather bewildered. " I don't 
believe it would make a straw's difference." 

" But what did he say, Tom ? what did 
he say ? " 



276 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" What we knew he would say — that we 
are tradesmen." 

Mr. Palmer smote his hands together 
desperately. 

" Did you ask him if he wouldn't sooner 
have an honest tradesman for his girl's 
father-in-law, than a scoundrel, a gaol-bird, 
a suicide ? " 

" No, I can't say I put it like that," said 
Tom surprised, and laughing again. 

" I'll go and ask him myself," said Mr. 
Palmer, looking for his coat. 

" Dear dad," said Tom, catching his arm, 
" don't worry yourself or him by needless 
questions. Has Lilith a scoundrelly gentle- 
man lover ? She didn't tell me about him ; 
anyhow she doesn't mean to marry him. 
The point is, if Mr. Turold persists " 

" It's a leading of Providence, I'm sure 
of it ! " cried Mr. Palmer, not listening. 

** Father, you talk in riddles, and don't 
help me a bit," said Tom, vexed. 

** But I wz// help you. I'll go and see 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 277 



the man myself, and tell him the facts. 
Bless the boy ! " cried Mr. Palmer, who was 
walking about the room excitedly ; '* does he 
think I've never carried on a negotiation 
before ? and with gentlefolks too ? Did he 
talk to you in Greek or in Latin, then, 
Tom ? " 

'' Why should your lack of Greek or Latin 
be thrown in your teeth ? " 

*' The lack of what I haven't got will 
never h'irritate me by being thrown in my 
teeth. I've got to see him, boy. Don't 
oppose me. Tom, my dear lad," said Mr. 
Palmer, his voice shaking as he laid his 
hand on Tom's arm, '' if I mismanage it, 
what with my want of Latin and so forth, 
you'll not say the failure's my fault '^. I'd 
sooner you'd have chosen another girl, Tom, 
almost any other ; but there it is, and we 
can't alter it. And now I'm ready to give 
up what I care most about to get her for 
you. If I fail, Tom, you mustn't suppose 
in your heart that I courted failure to have 



278 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

you driven back on some other lass, or that 
I didn't do my very best for you." 

Tom was mystified as much by his father's 
emotion as by his words, and was by no 
means sanguine as to the ambassador's 
chance of success. Respect and even ad- 
miration were Mr. Palmer's due from every 
one ; but respect and admiration are not 
plants which grow in a day on an unkindly 
soil. Mr. Turold looked for Greek and 
Latin in his daughter's father-in-law ; and 
finding neither, he would examine into Mr. 
Palmer's qualifications for respect no further. 
The oil merchant was going to a certain snub- 
bing" ; but he was determined on his mission, 
and Tom did not further oppose him. 

The son little guessed the heartburn- 
inofs with which the old man set forth on 
his self-imposed task. To disown his son 
— to disown his son, that he might win for 
him the bride who was yet far from welcome 
to his paternal heart ! How little the Greek 
and Latin mattered in a task like that ! 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 279 

But Mr. Palmer, steeling his heart, like 
Abraham, to give up his son, was a man 
of imagination and resource ; a bit of an 
idealist who could conceive and execute 
things strange to other men. It had been 
fantastic to bring up the boy in delusion 
about his parentage ; the man who had done 
it was ripe for further fantasies now. All 
day he thought and thought, trying to invent 
some cunning plan by which he might retain 
the boy and yet deliver him up to his family. 
The thing might seem impossible to other 
and dull-brained folk ; but so also might the 
grand new light he was inventing seem 
impossible. Mr. Palmer saw his lamp 
already in his mind's eye, and doubted not 
that he would solve his chemical problem. 
Now he had another problem to deal with ; 
and neither of its solution did he despair as 
he walked next day to Turold Royal, his 
head bent, his eyes glued to the ground, lost 
in thought. 




CHAPTER III. 



jp^HEN Tom had ridden away from the 
^M^ Court after his unsuccessful wooing, 
it happened that old Charles Turold in his 
private room looked out of the window and 
saw him. Tom rode, as w^e saw, a good bay 
horse; sat him well, and looked altogether 
a well set-up and admirable young man. 
The old gentleman's instinctive idea (for 
he sometimes mixed times and seasons and 
different generations together in his thoughts) 
was that the young cavalier was a member 
of his own family. Many a time had he 
proudly seen Richard or Geoffrey or Gilbert 
riding in that manner across the park on a 
good horse. In earlier days he had had a 
brother and cousins. The old man sighed, 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 281 

thinking how many of these Turolds had 
died young, and marvelUng that he him- 
self should be so old. He called his 
man. 

" Caxton, who's that young fellow riding 
away from the house ? " 

Caxton looked out. 

''That's young Mr. Palmer, sir. Been 
to see Mr. Gilbert on business." 

The old man snorted. He had then mis- 
taken Satan for an ang^el ; the scion of 
paraffin he had confused with one of his own 
gallant sons. 

"What business, I'd like to know?" he 
muttered testily. " Has he been about it 
before ? " 

'* Can't say, sir," said Caxton ; *T ve known 
old Mr. Palmer come once or twice." 

Caxton, less respectful to the family than 
Yates, or Mrs. Horlock the housekeeper, 
believed Palmer a money-lender; and that 
Mr. Gilbert was ' got into ' difficulties. 

'* Arrange with Yates," said old Charles 



282 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



Turold, "that next time Mr. Palmer or Mr. 
Palmer s son calls on business, or on any 
other excuse, he is shown up to me. And," 
he added, weakly, "you — needn't inform 
Mr. Gilbert of my order." 

For the old man was getting a little weak, 
as Caxton very well knew ; he himself had 
suspicions of the fact, and was so afraid of 
Gilbert's guessing it, that his manner to 
his son grew daily more blustering and un- 
reasonable. 

When, true to his resolve, Mr. Palmer 
next day appeared at Turold Royal, there 
was no difficulty in smuggling him up to the 
old despot's apartment. Yates handed him 
over to Caxton ; who took him up the main 
staircase, through a long gallery, down 
another stair, and up a few steps more to 
an ante-room ; then pushed aside a heavy 
curtain and opened a door, and drew another 
curtain, and ushered him into the presence 
of old Charles Turold ; who sat in a wheeled 
chair by the window, with an invalid's patent 



DEUS EX MACHINA, 2% 



table beside him, which held everything 
he wanted and grew to his chair in any 
position. 

Mr. Palmer had only dimly comprehended 
that Charles Turold, Stephen's father, was 
alive at all. He quite believed him in- 
visible, speechless, and imbecile. It was 
alarming to find himself at unawares in 
the presence of that relic of past ages ; a 
relic, too, very much alive though some- 
what immovable, with a very keen pair of 
angry eyes, and a sharply pointed tongue 
which took more licence than that of a 
younger man. However, Jack Palmer, 
elderly himself and looking older than he 
was, was not given to fear of his fellow- 
creatures : he was too upright in all his 
purposes for that. He sat down with his 
hands on the top of his stick, in his usual 
countrified attitude ; and with his usual ex- 
pression of universal good will a little 
modified by the sadness of his task. 

" What is it you want ? " asked his 



284 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Majesty, not at all with the courtesy 
Gilbert had used in asking the same ques- 
tion of Tom. 

Very slowly, and with shaking fingers, 
Mr. Palmer untied a roll of yellowing papers 
he had brought with him, and spread and 
smoothed them across his knee. Neither 
Providence nor ingenuity had as yet sug- 
gested to him any way of escape. 

'' You see, sir, I'd a deal sooner not go 
into this matter," began Mr. Palmer, ''for, 
before God, he's as my own child to me, 
and I'd never give him up but for his own 
good ; and if I could get his good without, 
I'd sooner keep him as he is. Will you 
name your own terms, sir, and I'll see if I 
could meet them ? If money'll do it, I'll 
hand it over to Tom, every penny, and 
trust to his love for his old father not to 
have to go naked myself." 

*' What the deuce are you talking about ? " 
asked Mr. Turold, turning round upon his 
visitor alarmingly, not himself only but his 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 285 

entire chair, in a magic manner ; " who wants 
your damned money ? " 

'' I don't say you do, sir ; Tom bade me 
take caution there. He said no one accused 
him of looking after the heiress, and it 
would be no less impudent to suppose you 
could be caring after our money. But for 
all that, sir, caring after money isn*t so ill 
a thing as looking after an heiress for her 
position. Money is neither more nor less 
than a necessity to some folk, and It's no 
shame for 'em to try and get it. And I 
could wish, sir, for Tom's sake, that was 
your way at present." 

The keen old eyes were flashing like a 
lighthouse, but the only reply was the 
repetition of one phrase — 

** Looking after an heiress ? " 

" Sir," said Mr. Palmer, with great 
earnestness, '* it ain't a fair thing to say of 
Tom, who has no more care that way than 
the child unborn, and was as like to have 
chosen a be^rear maid as an heiress. It's 



286 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

love, sir — ^just love, and no more, and no 
less. And though you and me are old 

men now " 

Mr. Palmer came to a full stop, for he 
suddenly perceived a bloodhound, with great 
red eyes, staring at him from under the 
wheeled chair. It was not Tamburlaine, 
but Tamburlaine's grand uncle Bajazet, a 
much milder specimen of the breed. Mr. 
Palmer, however, did not know that ; and 
Tom's remarks coming into his head, he 
turned pale and speechless. 

" Damn your impudence ! " cried his 
Majesty, much incensed by the allusion to 
his age, though in general he was rather 
proud of it. 

Resolved to forget the bloodhound, Mr. 
Palmer went on heroically — 

" Though you are a good bit older than 
me, sir, still I make bold to guess you haven't 
forgot your young days, and that you had 
your own love-story then, like every other 
honest man. And honest is just the word 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 287 

for my Tom, who has never had a love-story 
before ; nor hasn't played at love, and at 
fast and loose, like the other young fellows, 
and rubbed all the bloom and the cleanli- 
ness off the heart he's offering now to the 
girl of his choice." 

'' Hold your tongue !" shouted Mr. Turold, 
choking with fury, '' and keep your infernal 
sentiment to yourself. Who is this person 
you call Tom ? " Fatal question ! 

" He's my boy, sir, my only child — my 
son!" cried Mr. Palmer with tears in his 
eyes ; " but he's also " 

" Hold your tongue, sir ! Is this what 
you mean to say, in plain English — that 
your confounded son is looking after my 
heiress ? " 

'* My Tom is wanting to marry your girl, 
Lilith," said Mr. Palmer. 

''Then take yourself out of my house, 
sir," sputtered the old man, savagely, ''and 
never you nor your damned puppy of a son, 
nor any member of your detestable family 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 



whatsoever presume to set foot in it again." 
And once more the veteran, and his chair, 
and his table all spun round by magic, 
and Mr. Palmer saw only his back and 
his ears, which had become purple with 
fury. 

It had come then : the moment Jack 
Palmer had dreaded. This senseless rage 
demonstrated that Tom, as a mere Palmer, 
could never conquer the prejudices of the 
Turolds. His chance must be tried as the 
son of Stephen, and a Turold himself. 

" Are you gone ? " shouted the old man, 
not turning round. *' Get out of this, or, 
by Heaven ! I'll set my dog at you." 

Instinctively Mr. Palmer rose, for had not 
even Tom declared himself afraid of that 
dog ? But again magnanimity prevailed. 
He conquered his cowardice, came over to 
the chair, and laid his hand on the old 
man's shoulder. His lips turned white, and 
though his voice was clear, it shook. 

*' But, sir," said Mr. Palmer, '' it's my duty 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 289 

to inform you that my dear boy Tom is 
your own grandson." 

At once there flashed across Charles 
Turold's mind the recollection that he had 
mistaken Tom on his prancing bay horse 
for a member of his own family. His mind, 
weakened and confused in some ways, was 
quick as lightning in others. 

'' I neither know nor care how you make 
that out," said Mr. Turold, *' but I never 
acknowledge ' ' 

" He's the true and legitimate son of your 
son Stephen," said Mr. Palmer, slowly. 

''Stephen!'' echoed Mr. Turold. ''What 
do you say ? " he gasped. *' What ? " 

He shook the hand off his shoulder, and 
stared at the other with wild eyes and a 
blanched face grown ten years older. Charles 
Turold had disliked his son Stephen from 
his birth ; since Stephen had proved himself 
worthless, he had hated him ; and for years 
no one had dared to pronounce the detested 
name in his hearing. The long-concealed 

VOL. I. 19 



290 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

skeleton in his cupboard had suddenly burst 
out and confronted him. 

*' Stephen ! " he gasped, again and again. 
" Stephen ! " 

Then there was silence, the two men 
looking at each other. 

It was a dark day, and the short after- 
noon was closing in. Mr. Turold at last 
moved a little and tried to light his candles, 
but his hands shook so violently that the 
other had to do it for him. 

*' Go and sit down there," said the 
old man, pointing to the chair the oil 
merchant had vacated, '' and tell me about 
it. Stephen ! " 

*' You've seen me before, sir," said Palmer, 
''though you haven't recognized me. You 
saw me at the inquest on your son's death. 
My name is John Palmer — I was in Steven- 
son's shop then, and hadn't started business 
on my own account. And Kate was my 
sister. Your son Stephen was married to 
her ; not so soon as he had ought to have 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 29 1 

been, but he was legally married to her. 
I've got the proofs here. And a year and 
six months after the marriage this child 
was born. And the mother died of misery, 
and the father killed himself, and the child 
was given to me. And I've brought him 
up my own son ; and it's a cruel thing, 
it's a cruel thing that I have to turn him 
over to you now, who've done nothing for 
him, and, I take it, hate the very sound of 
his name." 

'' I don't believe one word of it," said Mr. 
Turold, weakly however. *' I was at the 
inquest, and there was no mention of a child 
then. And I had seen the woman a week 
before her death, and she said she had none ; 
and she didn't make it clear to me that she 
was a married woman at all." 

** Kate was frightened of your taking her 
boy from her, sir ; and Stephen, he wasn't 
for your getting hold of him, neither. He 
gave the child a present to me. But he 
didn't leave us without proofs for establishing 



292 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

his birth, if they were wanted. I've got 'em 
all here, and you'd best look 'em over. 
There's letters from Stephen and letters from 
Kate ; and a statement of facts written and 
signed by Stephen before he died, and their 
marriage lines, and the certificate of the 
child's birth. And there are references to 
three men : the parson who married them, — 
he's dead now, though — and the doctor who 
brought the child into the world, and a 
tradesman friend of my own who knew the 
boy as Stephen's before I had him, and 
why and when he was brought to me, and 
has seen him grow up, and is prepared to 
swear to his identity. You may go to law 
about it, sir, but you won't never upset it." 

Mr. Turold stretched out his hand for the 
papers, but was too much agitated to read a 
single sentence. 

" You'll leave them with me," he said 
feebly, his head falling back on the cushion 
and his hand clutching his forehead. 

" No. sir. They're too valuable to Tom 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 293 

to be let out of my keeping, unless into 
his. rU have copies made for you, if you 
wish." 

*' But, confound you, man ! it's you who 
haven't a right to retain them. It's fraud, 
sir — damned fraud or felony. If it's not a 
devilish lie from end to beginning, I'll have 
you prosecuted for child-stealing and keeping 
my grandson out of his birthright." 

'' Stephen told me, sir, the child had no 
birthright ; not a claim on a farthing. He 
was a castaway — might have gone to the 
workhouse if I hadn't picked him up and 
bred him. You don't tell me now, sir, that 
I've been keeping him out of anything .^ " 

'* No, you fool, you have kept him out of 
nothing so far. If his father had lived he'd 
never have had a penny from me in my life- 
time, nor the damned young brat either. 
But it doesn't seem to strike you that if he's 
the legitimate son of my son Stephen, he is 
at this moment my heir." 

" God have mercy on us ! " ejaculated Mr. 



294 ^^-^ PRINCESS ROYAL. 

Palmer, turning cold all over, and mechani- 
cally repossessing himself of the papers. 

There was a long silence, the two men 
looking at each other in the flickering candle- 
light with pale faces, as in the presence of 
some great calamity. 

"But, sir, sir!" cried Mr. Palmer, ''*ow 
can it be ? When you've a son of your own, 
and he with a child ? Stephen wasn't never 
your eldest son ! " 

" He was older than Gilbert, damn him," 
said Mr. Turold, with a groan. "All my 
sons are dead but the youngest, and he's 
the only one I ever cared a rush about ; and 
now with your lies and your damned work- 
house brat you want me to oust him. Was 
Stephen born to be a curse to me, then ? " 

" My God ! my God 1 " said Mr. Palmer ; 
" if I could have had a guess at this, God 
knows I'd have acted different." 

" Fifteen years ago," said the old man, 
with his high quivering voice and tear- 
filled eyes, " it wouldn't have mattered. It 



DEUS EX MACHINA, 295 

wouldn't have meant ruin to Gilbert then. 
What's to become of him now, turned out 
of his rights, without a penny, without a 
profession, and an elderly man himself? 
And what sort of an heir for my important 
position is this cub that you have sprung 
upon me ? An unknown, uneducated, ill- 
bred shopwalker, with knowledge neither of 
his family, nor of his duties " 

*' But if he was married to his cousin " 

began Mr. Palmer, merely as a subject for 
thought, not with any notion that it imme- 
diately offered solution of the difficulty. 

Mr. Turold raised his head, and looked at 
his visitor. 

'' Ah ! " he said, with a quick spasm of 
excitement and relief as at the invasion of 
a new idea. 

Again there was a pause. 

"God help us!" sighed Mr. Palmer, his 
inventive mind vigorously at work. 

The old man, weak with age, ready to be 
guided, waited eagerly for him to speak. 



296 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

'* It would cut my poor boy to the quick," 
said Mr. Palmer, reflectively, " to be told 
he'd had a father who was a thief." 

"■ Hold your tongue ! " shouted the old 
man ; " don't cast his infamies up at me. I 
disowned the blackguard years ago." 

'' Ay, sir, but wouldn't Tom wish to dis- 
own him, too?" said Mr. Palmer; ''it's 
with that belief I acted when I bred him up 
my son. It would seem nothing but a black 
misfortune to Tom to have to own that man 
for his father ; let alone that he'd be intruding 
where he wasn't wanted, and robbing the 
very girl he loves best in the world. Sir, 
must it be ? Can't the lad be left to me, 
and your son keep hold of his own .^ These 
entail laws have never seemed anything to 
me but blank injustice. Are we bound to 
respect 'em ? Shall we set the lawyers at 
it, and spare ourselves, ay, and the lad, too, 
the pain of all this ? " 

*' No, no," said Mr. Turold, hoarsely ; 
'' don't call in the lawyers. It lies between 



DEUS EX MA CHI IV A. 297 

you and me." He was silent for a while, 
rubbing his old hand restlessly backwards 
and forwards on his patent table. " Put 
your papers in the fire," he said presently, 
with gasping breath, "and I'll see to it that 
he gets the girl." 

Instinctively John Palmer clutched his 
papers tighter. He was an idealist, but 
there was nothinor dishonest about him. No 
temptation would have induced him to 
destroy the title-deeds which belonged not 
to himself but to Tom ; still — to keep them 
back merely ? 

'' He'd get his rights with his wife and 
his very name with her," Mr. Turold went 
on, his voice shaking with excitement. 
'* We'll have it taken down and sealed up 
for their children to know the truth ; but I 
can't have it come out in my lifetime, no, nor 
in Gilbert's." He stretched out his hand to 
the oil merchant. ''Give me your oath not 
to say a word of this to the boy nor to any 
one — not to my son, not to my son ! — till I 



298 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

have seen you again. Tell me, is the fellow 
healthy ? " 

"■ As strong as a young David, sir." 

'* Not likely to die young '^. So many of 
them have done that — so many of them — 
died young — my sons ! " 

"That's in the Lord's hand, sir. He's 
been very 'ealthy, and is a six foot and more." 

'' Is he vicious .-^ Will he disgrace me, 
and cut his throat, like his father ? " 

*' I'll stake my life on it he won't, sir." 

*' Send him to see me. But, on your 
oath, not one word yet ; not a word. And 
we won't burn the papers. We'll seal them 
up till Gilbert's death. The girl's one of the 
weakly ones ! He shall be heir then — after 
Gilbert, after Gilbert." 

*' Sir, you promised him the girl," Mr. 
Palmer urged, pausing in his exit. 

" He shall have her," groaned Mr. Turold, 
who had fallen back into a crouching attitude 
and whose voice had almost left him. 
"• Don't tell my son. Don't tell my son," he 



DEUS EX MA CHIN A, 



299 



murmured as the oil merchant took his leave ; 
and he repeated the same thing to his servant 
again and again. 

'' He do seem gone nigh daft," said Caxton 
later to Yates ; "he's selling himself to that 
Palmer for cash. That's what it is. We'll 
know more of it some of these days — you 
mark my words." 






s 


i 


n^ 


sit'.-i'i^^...'^. 


1 


^?!i^^ 



CHAPTER IV. 



[WlR. TUROLD received copies of the 
•^^ papers ; and when he had a Httle 
recovered from the prostration into which 
the communication had thrown him, he 
looked them over, and even thought of con- 
sulting his lawyer lest he were being gulled. 
The dilatoriness of age, however, his un- 
willingness to revive the memory of Stephen, 
an old man's dread of change, and his secret 
and increasing fear of Gilbert, paralyzed and 
kept him silent. When, a few days later, he 
had received a visit from Tom himself, all 
idea of a hoax vanished from his mind. He 
recognized in him a descendant of his own. 

Tom had come humbly enough into the 
presence of Lilith's father; but her grand- 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 301 

parent's importance he had by no means 
realized, and he felt vexed by his interference. 

" You have sent for me, sir ? " said the 
young man, with unconscious haughtiness, as 
he came in. 

Mr. Turold pointed to a seat and surveyed 
him. If he were like Stephen, it seemed to 
the grandfather that he must curse him 
aloud ; if he were like the woman, his low- 
born mother, or like the upstart plebeian 
oilman, his uncle, it seemed to the old man 
that he must still curse him. But though 
Tom had a look of all these persons, the 
resemblance was not salient. He was a great 
deal more like his uncle Richard at the same 
age ; as Richard's father remembered him, 
with an upright carriage, an unhesitating step, 
and a slight air of haughtiness, habitual with 
Richard, momentary and accidental with 
Tom. So striking did the likeness appear 
to the old man, that he wondered every one 
did not remark upon it. Probably his eyes 
exaggerated. Probably he remembered his 



302 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

firstborn more distinctly than did any one 
else. But it was a long, long time since Mr. 
Turold himself had seen his firstborn, and 
Gilbert had now entirely usurped his place. 
Son of Stephen, copy of Richard, Tom was 
unwelcome to his grandfather ; nay, Richard 
himself, had he started back into life, 
would have been unwelcome, an inconveni- 
ence, an object of terror, a thing to be hidden 
away and stifled, if it were in any way 
possible. 

He asked Tom one or two perfunctory 
questions about himself, and was so little 
attentive to the replies that the young man 
was half offended. Not for a moment did 
Tom suppose he intended to further his 
suit. 

" When you are married," said the old 
man, dreamily, forgetting that the remark 
had had no introduction, *' you must restore 
the east wall of the tower and reopen the 
secret passage." 

Tom started to his feet. 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 303 

" Has Mr. Turold consented ?" he cried. 

" / have consented," replied the old man, 
with a gesture of distress. 

Tom stared. 

" What ? Is It true ? Am I to have 
Lllith for my wife ? " 

*' I won't stand any nonsense about it," 
cried the old man, wildly ; " you must marry 
her. Anything else is destruction. Good 
God ! boy, you are not hesitating, are 
you?" 

Tom was too much astonished to reply. 

Then Lllith put her head In to wish her 
grandfather good morning. 

'' Oh ! " she exclaimed, seeing her lover ; 
and entered doubtfully, standing with her 
back against the door and blushing prettily. 

Then, struck by her grandfather's air of 
agitation and of quite novel weakness, she 
threw herself on her knees at his side and 
took his shaking hand in hers. The old 
man burst Into tears like a child, laying his 
hand on Lillth's shoulder and clinging to her. 



304 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

It was very startling to the girl, who had 
never seen him in this mood ; and she put 
her arms round him and kissed his white 
hair and veined forehead. 

*' Lilith, listen, child," said old Charles 
Turold, his voice broken and his eyes still 
raining piteously, **you must do what I bid 
you, no matter how- disagreeable it is to you. 
If you don't, you will ruin yourself and your 
father and me. You must marry this young 
man, my dear, and not give any trouble 
about it." 

Lilith got up and looked first at her grand- 
father, who had buried his face in his hands 
and was rocking himself slowly like one in 
pain, and then at Tom, who had drawn 
a little nearer, but was still silent. 

" What does he mean ? " said Lilith. 

"■ I don't know what he means," said Tom, 
taking her hand ; " he must have misunder- 
stood something my father has said. Neither 
father nor I would work by threats, even if 
we had any to propose." 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 305 

''Grandpapa," said Lilith, shyly, "Tom 
and I want to marry each other." 

The old man heaved a sigh of relief. 
Rousingr himself, he despatched Caxton for 
his son, and the young people waited, both 
silent and very much surprised. When 
Gilbert entered, hurriedly, for he imagined 
that the old man, after unaccountably ailing 
for nearly a week, had been taken ill, he 
found Lilith sitting on a stool by her grand- 
father, her hand on his knee, much more affec- 
tionate and confidential than usual. And 
Tom Palmer, the enemy, the wolf, with a 
well-marked frown of anxiety on his brow, 
was standing in the background watching her 
and the course of events. It was very be- 
wildering, and Gilbert Turold stopped short 
in utter confusion and annoyance. 

But come ; he had arrived in time ; Lilith 
would not be on those terms with her grand- 
father if the old man had discovered the 
scrape she had got herself into. At all 
hazards the poor naughty child must be 

VOL. I. 20 



306 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

protected ; no doubt It was she who had sent 
for him to come to her assistance and to 
take her intruding lover somehow out of the 
room ! 

'' Ah, Mr. Palmer ! " said Gilbert Turold, 
easily, '' there is some mistake, I see. I was 
expecting you to-day, or to-morrow — to- 
morrow was the day mentioned, I think ? — to 
receive my final answer on that matter we 
spoke of. But I will trouble you to follow 
me to the library. Yates has made a 
mistake." 

He spoke with perfect friendliness, his 
one idea to shield Lilith. A flush of triumph 
had mounted on Tom's cheek as he heard 
this pleasant tone ; but something whispered 
caution to him, and he did not reply. He 
glanced at Lilith, smiling and raising his 
eyebrows. 

" Wait a minute," said the old man's 
almost soundless voice ; and Gilbert looking 
at him began suddenly to suspect something 
more than a servant's blunder. 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 307 

" Mr. Palmer," said Gilbert, severely, 
'' what does this mean ? " 

''I don't know," said Tom, bluntly; ''I 
don't know what it means. But you will 
give me your answer about Lilith ? I am 
glad to think " 

" Grandpapa," broke in the girl, '* you 
must speak. Oh, papa, listen to grand- 
papa ! 

Gilbert now dimly guessed at alliances. 

** I am listening, Lilith," he said with 
grave displeasure, crushing all Tom's sud- 
denly conceived hopes. 

Then the son turned to Mr. Turold. 
" You are aware, sir, of the matter which 
brings this gentleman here .^ I am sur- 
prised you have not spoken to me about 
it. As only one answer is possible to Mr. 
Palmer's request, an answer which I have 
already given, it will be pleasanter for every 
one if I repeat it to him in private." 

There was a pause. 

** Listen," said the old man, watching Tom 



308 THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 

furtively with an expression of fear not lost 
upon his son, " I know you want to marry 
your girl to Edward Vane. It can't be done, 
so there's an end of it. She is to marry — 
Richard." 

The old voice was so tremulous and 
troubled that it carried the authority of a 
deathbed injunction. 

'' Who is Richard ? " asked Gilbert, after 
a short reflection. 

*' Mr. Turold has mistaken my name," 
said Tom. 

" Do you refer to Mr. Palmer, sir ? " 

The old man pointed to the suitor without 
speaking. 

*' Allow me to understand. You spoke to 
me a week ago of some person who wished 
to address my daughter ; did you refer to 
Mr. Palmer ? " 

** I don't remember speaking to you. She 
is to marry him." 

" Against my will, sir ! " 

" Oh, papa, dear papa ! " broke in Lilith, 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 309 

"don't say it is against your will when we 
all wish it so much, so much ! " 

Tom's frown of anxiety had become very 
apparent again. 

'' It is entirely against my will, Lilith," 
said Gilbert ; '' it is for you to choose whether 
you obey your father or not." 

Tears sprang to Lilith's eyes as she looked 
from one to the other. Then she moved to 
her lover's side. '' I will do whatever Tom 
thinks right, papa." 

" May I say," said the young man, flushing 
as he held the girl's hand, " that next to 
Lilith's wishes, sir, I think most of yours." 

" I am glad you do that much," said 
Gilbert, sarcastically. 

There was another pause ; Gilbert Turold 
one against three and surveying the enemy. 
What could his father's attitude mean ? 

" I thought," began Tom, gravely, '' that 
Mr. Turold here was perhaps going to argue 
in our favour. I did not think that 
he " 



3IO THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

" I am too old for argument," Interrupted 
the old quavering voice. " I give my orders, 
and I expect them obeyed. Lillth is 
dependent on me, not on you, Gilbert ; you 
are dependent on me yourself, sir. Obey me 
or It shall be the worse for you — the devil 
only knows how much the worse. Settle 
it at once," he cried, raising his voice. 
'' What are you hanging back for, you young 
dog ? The girl is willing. Here, Lillth ! 
obey me, child. We'll write out a contract, 
and let me see it signed," he ended wildly. 
** I'll send for a lawyer ! " 

Lillth was terrified by his vehemence. 

''He is insane," said Gilbert; "it is the 
doctor I shall send for." And, indeed, there 
seemed reason in the proposition, for a 
sudden choking cry from the old man startled 
them all, and he fell forward in his chair, 
white and rigid, but not unconscious, for his 
keen eyes retained their full life and were 
fixed with ever-increasing determination 
upon his companions. It was Tom who 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 31I 

raised and supported him till his nerves and 
muscles had resumed their vigour. 

** I am dying," he gasped ; " it must be 
done now. Stay here, Lilith child, to — to 
sign your name." And he dragged to him- 
self a sheet of paper, and began to write 
a formula in clear though straggling letters. 

" I, Thomas, undertake to marry Lilith Turold and 
no other, and to take her name." 

" Sign it," he gasped ; '' make them both 
sign it, Gilbert, and I can die at ease, and 
you — you are all right ; all of you in your 
right." 

Tom laid the old man back on his cushions 
and rose to his feet. 

" No," he said, *' I can't sign anything to- 
day. But I do wish with all my heart, and 
I do purpose, to marry Lilith." 

" Let me sign it ! " cried the girl. " Poor 
grandpapa, how ill we have made him ! Let 
me give him this little pleasure." 

'' No, dearest," said Tom, gently, "we can 



THE PRINCESS ROYAL, 



trust each other without that." And he 
turned to Gilbert : " Do you wish to say 
anything to me in private, sir ? " 

'* I am obhged to you for your forbearance," 
said Gilbert, in a low voice, *' though of course 
this is all a farce, Mr. Palmer. The matter 
must stand over for the present, and I will 
send for you as soon as I see my way clearly. 
Not that I shall have anything to say 
other than I have already said," he added, 
sternly. 

Tom bowed and withdrew, with one smile 
at Lilith. The girl watched him down the 
road, then she too left the room. 

Gilbert remained, absorbed in contem- 
plation of the stricken old man, whose bowed 
frame and palsied fingers were as different 
as could be from the hale old age of a week 
ago. It was the finger of death on him, 
perhaps ; and this meaningless obstinacy 
was the mere expiring blaze of a tyrannical 
temper. A few days' delay would tide over 
the difficulty. 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 313 

The old eyes opened again after half an 
hour's doze. 

*' Have you settled It ? Is the paper 
signed ? Where is it ? " he demanded. 

"Yes — yes," returned the son, soothingly, 
" it shall be as you wish. Don't distress 
yourself" 

" Don't talk to me as if I were a fool ! " 
cried old Mr. Turold, starting up angrily. 
" I am saner and wiser than you, Gilbert, 
and I know what I am about. I want to 
save you from ruin. Do you wish to be 
turned out ? beggared, you and your girl ? 
Do you wish to kill me ? raking up old 
infamies when already I have put you in my 
place and given you everything I have, and 
established you in your position, you, the 
only son I have left '^. Why do you object ? " 
he went on less vehemently ; " he isn't a 
chimney-sweep, is he ? The girl likes him ; 
she has no fancy for your little Edward 
Vane. You did not wish her coerced. Let 
her have her way. He's a big, handsome 



314 THE PRINCESS ROYAL. 

boy, like — like You married for love 

yourself, and very badly too — a sickly woman 
with only one child. Let Lilith marry the 
man she loves ; and when he is your son- 
in-law, lick him into shape and teach him 
his duties as I have taught you. Give him 
authority ; it's good for the heir." 

Gilbert's astonishment knew no bounds. 

" My dear sir," he urged, '' there are a 
thousand men more suited to the position 
in every respect. I don't think you realize 
who this fellow is." 

'' There's a great smell of oil about him," 
said the old man, grimly ; " deodorizing will 
be your business ; and I hope to Heaven 
he doesn't drink ; that was the beginning 
of it with Stephen, and the end too, I sup- 
pose." 

" He rambles," said Gilbert to him- 
self; "he is doting. It is the finger of 
death." 

He withdrew, and to Lilith he passed no 
remark on what had occurred. But after 



DEUS EX MACHINA. 315 

this the girl sparkled like a summer morning. 
She feared her father still, but she believed 
him vanquished. No one had ever disputed 
the will of the autocrat. 



END OF VOL. I. 



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